Whiteout

Jessica Goodfellow

Whiteout

Jessica Goodfellow

Distributed for University of Alaska Press

64 pages | 6 x 9
Paper $14.95 ISBN: 9781602233270 Published August 2017
E-book $7.00 to $14.95 ISBN: 9781602233287 Published July 2017

When she was a toddler, Jessica Goodfellow’s twenty-two-year-old uncle, along with six other climbers from the 1967 Wilcox Expedition to Denali, was lost in an unprecedented ten-day storm blasting winds of up to three-hundred miles per hour. Just as North America’s highest peak is so massive that it has its own distinct weather system—changeable and perilous, subject to sudden whiteout conditions—a family whose loved one is irretrievably lost has a grief so blinding and vast that it also creates its own capricious internal weather, one that lasts for generations. Whiteout is Goodfellow’s account of growing up in this unnavigable and often unspoken-of climate of bereavement.

Although her poems begin with a missing body, they are not an elegy. Instead, Goodfellow struggles with the absence of cultural ritual for the uncontainable loss of a beloved one whose body is never recovered and whose final story is unknowable. There is no solace here, no possible reconciliation. Instead, Whiteout is a defiant gaze into a storm that engulfs both the wildness of Alaska and of familial mourning.

Review Quotes
Alaska Dispatch News
“A study of inter-generational trauma, of how the pain that afflicts parents and grandparents can be handed down to children who did not experience it directly. It’s deeply moving.”
A Mountain Journey
Whiteout is a book that you need to read. While it focuses on the loss of Goodfellow’s uncle, it also explores the way we mourn for the people who we have lost. Even if you can’t relate to Goodfellow’s exact situation, this book will still hit home.”
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