Thursday, 4 September 2014

Moonlight at Midday

Moonlight at Midday
Sally Carrighar
Michael Joseph, London: 1959
Published the same year as Elizabeth David's French Provincial CookingMoonlight at Midday is a venerable insight into a very different culture. The author was a naturalist who originally visited Alaska to spend a single year studying the environment but stayed, making her home there for a decade. The book falls into two parts, the first being an intelligent, detailed and patiently observed account of life in Unalakleet, then a small coastal settlement known for its abundance of bears, marten, mink, beavers and foxes, not to mention marine wildlife. The second part of the book, which records the author's experiences as a home-owner in Nome and Fairbanks has a more humorous bent, not without a touch of exasperation at times, and offers a vivid account of the practical challenges of living on what was then a frontier. The ice that features in the latter section tends to be within domestic water and oil pipes; it is the first part of the book that will be of most interest to the researcher of wild ice. Carrighar records the intimate knowledge of the sea ice demonstrated by Inuit and bush pilots - and describes some of her own risky winter excursions. 'It is after the ice has broken,' she notes, 'that good hunting develops, and also the insecurity.'
Hardback, 314 pages,
(£3.50)

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