Cold Latitudes is a memoir in essay form based on years of working in the Alaska Arctic and Antarctica. The author was privileged to see first-hand worlds that few will ever know, while participating in cutting-edge research at high latitudes. From solo voyages down the Yukon and part of the Northwest Passage, to working with humpback whales in the Southern Ocean, to chilling encounters with polar bears, Rosemary McGuire’s stories are told in spare, graceful prose. It is her friendships with local people, and with scientific researchers, that form the core of her experiences. Through these local contacts and traditional knowledge, she learns humility and a sense of wonder at the natural world, while at the same time coming to appreciate the gritty determination of the field researchers whose work she shares. Throughout, she examines human relationships with wilderness, and our growing effects on a fragile planet. And so, as she writes, “In the end, this is a love story for a threatened place.”
A man witnesses a tragic accident that calls his own life into question. A young woman meets her high school sweetheart after many years and seeks to make sense of the separate paths they've taken. A soldier home from Iraq tries to rebuild his life in a remote Alaskan village.
These are fishing stories, told as such stories are meant to be: simple, often coarse, and tinged with the elemental beauty of the sea. They reflect rugged lives lived on the edge of the ocean’s borders, where grief and grace ride the same waves. Rosemary McGuire, a fisherman herself, captures the essential humanity at the heart of each tale. No one comes through unscathed, but all retain a sense of hope and belief in earthly miracles, however humble.
A dazzling debut, The Creatures at the Absolute Bottom of the Sea will leave readers with a sense of the fragility and beauty inherent in eroded lives spent in proximity to danger.