When Laura set out to live in the Arctic, she never imagined the life that would unfold before her... 

Laura's story is simply awe-inspiring / Picture Credit: Laura Galloway

Laura's story is simply awe-inspiring / Picture Credit: Laura Galloway

Laura Galloway, author of this stunning memoir, is both a writer and communications strategist; she started her exciting career at the Los Angeles Times, and has 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. 

The synopsis 

Dálvi: Six Years in the Arctic Tundra follows the six-year journey of Laura Galloway; the book is the result of years’ worth of notes, diaries and letters, as well as her own memories, feelings and opinions. 

After taking an ancestry test, Laura discovers she has some Sámi DNA in her; she knew that she must explore this, and thus ended up in the small town of Kautokeino, Norway. 

Moving from New York City (NYC) to the Arctic Tundra, Laura witnesses a whole new world open up to her; customs are different, the people are different, and just about everything else isn’t as she expected. 

After her partner breaks up with her after six months, Laura contemplates leaving and heading back to NYC, but she fell in love with the Arctic, and stayed for six years. 

So, what did I think? 

Upon receiving my copy of Dálvi, I was met with a beautiful front cover, but at that point, I had no idea that the contents of this book would be even more incredible than I could’ve imagined. 

Within the first few pages, Dálvi had enchanted me. I was no less than blown away by the beautiful writing, and the language Galloway used matched perfectly with the content of the writing. 

It was clear to me, even at this point, that Dálvi was set to be a standout book, and I couldn’t wait to read on. 

What really struck me about this book, was just how open and honest it was. Galloway has seemingly used this book to celebrate herself and her amazing achievements, but to also note her flaws, and the mistakes she has made within her life. 

Galloway’s honesty was shocking, to say the least, but in the best way possible. She tells the story of her mother’s passing, and then speaks about Joan, her step-mother, who broke her family apart. 

This level of truth and what seemed like trust in her readers was incredible, and Dálvi wouldn’t have worked so well without it. 

I felt as though she was speaking only to me, like I was the only person trusted with this behind-the-scenes look at her life, and I felt somewhat honoured to have received a copy of this book. 

I loved that one simple thing was enough to send Galloway across the globe to the Arctic and change over a decade of her life. This is what gripped me the most, the perseverance she exhibits in this book will stay with me for a while. 

As well as the book being a very open and honest account of Galloway’s time in Kautokeino, the style of writing was perfect, and couldn’t have been done any better. 

The book frequently swapped between past and present (the present being her time in Kautokeino), and I adored this way of telling the story. 

Galloway told stories of her childhood and adolescence, then discussed her time in the Arctic, and then back to the past. 

This was a captivating way to tell her story, as so much has happened in her life, knowing the whole story was important, but sharing the past all at once may have been too much, and it wouldn’t have been as exciting. 

I was never lost while reading Dálvi; I knew who was who at all times, and was simply in awe of Galloway and her bravery in staying in the Arctic after the split from her partner. 

Another thing I adored while reading this book, was that I was learning things I never even knew about; I was learning about Sámi culture and ways of life, when days before, I, admittedly, had no idea that these people existed. 

Dálvi taught me about reindeer hearding, Sámi customs, how life is different in the Arctic, and even how people treat their pets; I was enthralled with Galloway’s teachings, as I love to learn about things which I am unfamiliar with, and this was an incredible experience. 

Perhaps above all, what struck me about Dálvi, was the stark respect Galloway had for what she was writing about. She made sure to get a Sámi reader to check her spellings and facts in order to maintain the truth she was telling. 

Dálvi: Six Years in the Arctic Tundra is an incredible story of Galloway’s life, from her first job to her move to the Arctic where she took Sámi speaking classes and did her upmost to be part of the Sámi culture. I was in awe from page one, and I truly believe that this is a book everyone should read. 

Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal

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