Today I am delighted to be participating in the blog tour for a book that I have recently read. I would like to extend my thanks to Midas PR for the review copy.
Title: Dálvi: Six Years in the Arctic Tundra
Author: Laura Galloway
Publication Date: 3 February 2022 (paperback)
An ancestry test suggesting she shared some DNA with the Sámi people, the indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic tundra, tapped into Laura Galloway’s wanderlust; an affair with a Sámi 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.
We are all just trying to work through life the best we can, attempting to navigate our scars and integrate them into workable, productive lives. (p261)
Laura Galloway is an American who due to a DNA test, believes that she has Sami roots. This leads her to travel to Norway to investigate. While she is there she meets a reindeer herder and eventually ends up leaving her life in New York to live with him in the Arctic.
But it isn’t an easy existence and Galloway has had adversity in her upbringing as her mother died when she was 3 years old and her step-mother wasn’t very supportive. Unfortunately her elder sister also passed away when she is in her 20s.
I thought that Galloway showed incredible resilience in her life choices and determination although she does suffer setbacks, including when her boyfriend breaks up with her.
It was certainly a crash course in Sami culture.
Galloway is a real softie when it comes to animals. In part, because she takes her two cats with her when she moves from America to Norway. While in the Arctic she also acquires two dogs, both of them female as it is the male dogs that are reared for reindeer herding. An additional male dog also starts to favour her, and even stays overnight when he isn’t involved in reindeer herding.
I may not have lived in such a harsh environment, but as a fellow expatriate, I did really relate to some of the sentiments that Galloway describes, in particular her definition of what makes a home.
An utterly moving read that I feel most grateful to have been fortunate enough to receive a review copy.
About the Author:
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 Sámi 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.