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Midnight Light: A Personal Journey to the North


English | September 18th, 2018 | ISBN: 0771017758 | 352 Pages | EPUB | 11.84 MB

Bestselling and beloved author of On A Cold Road, Dave Bidini uses his stint as guest columnist at the Yellowknifer newspaper to explore the "Gateway to the North," the meaning of community, and the issues facing residents and their daily lives.

As a member of the legendary band the Rheostatics, a journalist and a bestselling author, Dave Bidini has had the great privilege of exploring Canada's incredible geography from coast to coast to coast. Yet, in his many travels, he'd never visited the Northwest Territories, "the white ribbon across the top of North American maps found beneath a paper crease still crisp at the fold." After an all-too-brief visit to a literary festival in Yellowknife, Bidini was hooked on the place and its people. From the time he returned home, all he could do was think about going back to the North.

At the same time, Bidini found himself at a career crossroads. His position as a columnist with a national newspaper had come to an end, leaving him reflecting on his lifelong love of newspapers and questioning the future of journalism in Canada. Writing had always been Bidini's way to make sense of the world around him and he was determined to find an outlet for his unique perspective. Still fresh with the memories of his recent visit to the Northwest Territories, Bidini contacts the Yellowknifer, one of the last truly local and independent newspapers, and signs on as a guest columnist for an unforgettable summer. Midnight Light: A Personal Journey to the North, is Dave Bidini's fast, funny and, at times, powerfully poignant chronicle of the incredible time he spent "up there" in the NWT.

The Yellowknifer, like the city it serves, bucks all of the trends and invokes all of the charms and frustrations of stubborn nationalism. The newspaper is completely locally-focused and treats the global news sharescape as if it never existed. The paper gives Bidini a ground-level view of a city and its environs, including Great Bear Lake, Tuktoyaktuk, and Nahanni National Park, that are on one hand lost in time, and on another faced with the very stark realities of poverty, racism, addiction, and hopelessness. Along the way, Midnight Light introduces readers to an extraordinary cast of characters, including Dene elders and entrepreneurs adapting to a changing way of life, various artists who are giving the region a powerful voice to the rest of the world, politicians and law enforcement officers who are dealing with the community's difficult history and economic realities, and an assortment of complicated souls from the South who have travelled North as a "last chance" to build lives for themselves.

Woven throughout Midnight Light's tremendous narrative is the story of the irascible John McFadden, a veteran Toronto newspaper crime reporter who "escaped" to Yellowknife. McFadden is the key character in the Yellowknifer's ongoing fight with the authorities (RCMP forces) who do not take kindly to journalistic doggedness. McFadden and the paper became the centre of attention across the country when he was charged with obstruction and threatened with jail time. He was found not guilty and the police were forced to change their tactics. Yet the tension between the RCMP and the Yellowknifer remains unresolved.

In Midnight Light, Dave Bidini brings Yellowknife, the Northwest Territories and its remarkable and proud people to brilliant life.


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