Dalvi: Six Years in the Artic Tundra

by Laura Galloway

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LoveReading Expert Review of Dalvi: Six Years in the Artic Tundra

This engaging, emotionally-charged memoir tells of an American woman’s courageous journey to self-discovery in the wilds of the Arctic tundra

Always engaging and illuminating, Laura Galloway’s Dálvi is an uplifting ode to doing something different. A testament to how a person can flourish after fleeing the monotony of the  work, spend, socialise, show-off-on-social-media cycle of modern life to live by an entirely different kind of cycle - the kind that’s directed by nature’s shifting seasons in a unique environmental and cultural setting. Threaded with themes of flourishing through adversity, and finding home and love in unexpected places, this remarkable memoir is as stirring as it is gripping. The author’s journey began when a genetic test revealed that she shares DNA with the indigenous Sámi people of the Arctic tundra. Having endured a disastrous marriage, and growing increasingly dissatisfied with her life in NYC, Galloway ventures to the Norwegian town of Kautokeino, ostensibly to discover her roots, but in actuality discovering herself and her future way of life. Here, in this remote reindeer-herding region she meets and falls for a herder and decides to stay - even after he leaves her just six months later. With only very limited knowledge of the Sámi language, Galloway lives a largely solitary life with little money, and yet this life is so much better for her: “Now it is simple. There is no noise and no distraction. I have to be with myself, whatever that means, in the silence, listening to nature, being still.” In contrast, “When I left New York, I was exhausted – emotionally, financially and physically, as if I had been on a giant rat wheel.” Galloway is an amiable, amusing companion - never self-indulgent and always honest, not least when writing about her traumatic childhood (the death of her mother when she was only three, and the unrelenting vindictiveness of her father’s second wife). In time, little by little through her six years in the Arctic, she realises, “I’ve moved between two worlds.” And, at the heart of this transition, and a consequence of living in nature, her “endlessly fascinating companion”, is the realisation that “home is inside you and all around you.” Home whispers, “’I am here’, when you are most alone.”  What a joyous life-affirming read.

Joanne Owen

Dalvi: Six Years in the Artic Tundra Synopsis

An ancestry test suggesting she shared some DNA with the Sami people, the indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic tundra, tapped into Laura Galloway's wanderlust; an affair with a Sami reindeer herder ultimately led her to leave New York for the tiny town of Kautokeino, Norway. When her new boyfriend left her unexpectedly after six months, it would have been easy, and perhaps prudent, to return home. But she stayed for six years.

Dálvi is the story of Laura's time in a reindeer-herding village in the Arctic, forging a solitary existence as she struggled to learn the language and make her way in a remote community for which there were no guidebooks or manuals for how to fit in. Her time in the North opened her to a new world. And it brought something else as well: reconciliation and peace with the traumatic events that had previously defined her - the sudden death of her mother when she was three, a difficult childhood and her lifelong search for connection and a sense of home.

Both a heart-rending memoir and a love letter to the singular landscape of the region, Dálvi explores with great warmth and humility what it means to truly belong.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781911630685
Publication date: 3rd February 2022
Author: Laura Galloway
Publisher: Allen & Unwin an imprint of Atlantic Books
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 304 pages
Primary Genre Biographies & Autobiographies
Other Genres:

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Laura Galloway Press Reviews

Laura Galloway's account of her escape to a new life in the Arctic tundra is an enchanting tale of courage, hope and breath-taking grit. I loved it. -- Christina Patterson, author of THE ART OF NOT FALLING APART

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781911630685
Publication date: 03/02/2022
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781911630678
Publication date: 01/04/2021
Format: Hardback

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About Laura Galloway

Laura Galloway is a writer and communications strategist. She began her career at the Los Angeles Times and holds a Master of Arts in Indigenous Journalism from the Sami University of Applied Sciences in Kautokeino, Norway, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Southern California. An ardent animal lover, she and her partner live with her two reindeer-herding dogs and two cats.

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