This is a great story about one person’s journey to the north. It is a breathtaking story, one that will propel you to read until you have turned the last page. I loved this book!
The book reads like a story–novel. But it is really a nonfictional piece. So for me, it was a book that stretched boundaries and genres.
As an author and founding member of the trail-blazing Rheostatics, Dave Bidini has had the privilege of exploring Canada’s immense geography. yet, in all his many travels, he’d never visited the Northwest Territories.
After an all-too-brief visit to a literary festival in Yellowknife, Bidini was hooked on the place and its people. When he returned home, all he could do was think about going back to the North. So, one day he did!
Facing a career crossroads and with memories of his recent visit to the Northwest Territories still fresh in his mind and heart, Bidini, in a bold move, contacts the Yellowknifer, one of the last truly local and independent newspapers, and signs on as a guest columnist for an unforgettable summer.
The Yellowknifer, like the city it serves, bucks all trends as a completely community-focused newspaper. Bidini’s new position gave him access to a region that is on the one hand lost in time, and on the other faced with the start realities of poverty, racism and addiction.
Along the way, Midnight Light introduces readers to an extraordinary cost of Dene elders, entrepreneurs, artists, politicians, and law enforcement officers as well as an assortment of complicated souls from the South who are looking for a chance to rebuild their lives and who face the same harsh economic realities as their new neighbours.
Woven throughout the narrative is the story of the irascible John McFadden, a veteran Toronto crime reporter who escaped Yellowknife. McFadden is the key figure in the newspaper’s ongoing fight with local authorities who do not take kindly to journalistic doggedness.
During Bidini’s tenure with the paper, McFadden makes headlines across the country when the RC<P charges him with obstruction while he is working on a story, culminating in a trial in which nothing less than journalistic freedom is at stake.
This is a faced-paced, funny, and at times powerfully poignant chronicle of a city and its environs, and a reminder of the vital importance of a local and independent press. It brings the Northwest Territories and its remarkable and proud people to vivid life.