Thank you so much Gaby at Midas PR and Allen and Unwin for having me on the tour!
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.
“The land is resplendent and alive”
Through this lovely memoir, full of tenderness and humour, Laura takes us back and forth through her childhood, and the events that shaped her life and tough times, all the way to the depth of “Dálvi”, meaning “winter” in Northern Sami.
An open and honest tale, of someone looking for the meaning of love, on a quest to find themselves. She shares it all: the joys, grief, heartbreaks. Her longing for approval, her desperate need to belong somewhere, to someone. It was fascinating to witness her determination, to find her way and learn to be alone with herself.
What a life she’s led! From a broken family, filled with too much loss too early, working in a hair salon, slowly making her way to The Los Angeles Times all the way to years of immersion in a small village in the Arctic, you cannot help but be inspired.
“The first rule of dating a reindeer herder: never ask how long they’ll be away.”
I quite enjoyed traveling with Laura, and exploring the richness of a new culture. What a different world it is in the far North, with traditions and family at the core of it all. Maybe I wouldn’t like to live completely in the same way, but it certainly makes you wonder what you could do differently.
—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 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.
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