Georgia: An Arctic Diary
Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.
Georgia (she uses only one name) is an American-born Canadian who has chosen to live in the Northwest Territories. This diary is the story of a year of her life, with its ordinary day-to-day activities as well as the special events and festivals, such as the caribou or seal hunts, and Christmas and Easter celebrations, that mark its passage. Although she lives with the Inuit on very comfortable and neighbourly terms, she is not entirely one of them: they call her nayanguaq, “the one who is like a nun,” because of her to them inexplicable preference for living alone, a lifestyle the Inuit cannot understand. They are puzzled at her refusal of friendly offers to share a husband or boyfriend, and at her disinclination to adopt a child to look after her when she grows old.
Georgia writes unsentimentally of the north, as befits a person who lives there and rejoices in new conveniences and improvements; not as a comfortable southerner regretting the passing of a picturesque way of life whose rigours others must endure. Intensely readable, often very funny, this diary of an independent and spirited woman provides a unique and objective word picture of a way of life almost as foreign to most Canadians as camping out on the far side of the Moon.