Atz Kilcher memoir combines tough truths with homestead tales

“Son of a Midnight Land,” a memoir by Atz Kilcher

By Atz Kilcher. Blackstone Publishing, 2018. 306 pages. $27.ninety nine hardcover.

Atz Kilcher, writer of a brand new memoir, is legendary for being the daddy of singer-songwriter Jewel in addition to the patriarch of the Kilcher clan, as seen on the Discovery Channel’s “Alaska: The Final Frontier.” His guide, its title making a play on Alaska because the “land of the midnight solar,” captures features of his life rising up on a Homer homestead and later constructing his personal life as an athlete, cowboy, father or mother and grandparent.

Studying this ebook is very similar to sitting with a very good storyteller, maybe round a campfire, and listening to him speak. That’s, it is a rambling story, charming in its method, however tough and repetitive as a e-book. It’s at its greatest when it merely tells tales, versus the psychological evaluation and life philosophizing it regularly sinks into.

The fourth of eight youngsters and the elder son, Atz was born in 1947 to Swiss immigrants Xmas and Ruth Kilcher. Xmas Kilcher, who died in 1998, stays an iconic Alaska pioneer; he served as a delegate to the state’s constitutional conference and later as a one-time period senator. He’s additionally recognized for having made a shade documentary of the household’s youth on the homestead, a movie he introduced all through Europe; a model of this, “A Pioneer Household in Alaska,” continues to be obtainable.

Ruth Kilcher, much less properly-recognized, was an influence in her personal proper — managing not simply the youngsters however the homestead by herself a lot of the time, whereas additionally succeeding as a poet, author and lively member of the Homer group. She left the wedding and Alaska in 1969.

The Kilcher youngsters have been raised the homestead method — to backyard, fish, haul coal and water, butcher animals, make do with what that they had or might make, and to sing and play music. They have been typically referred to as Alaska’s von Trapp (“The Sound of Music”) household.

Any romantic notions utilized to that life are put to relaxation on this memoir. The key theme of the e-book is the cruelty exacted by father Xmas onto first-born son Atz (and to a lesser diploma, the remainder of the household). Kilcher’s expertise at his father’s palms have been of coping with explosive anger, belittling, humiliation and bodily harm. The self-described “homestead hick” and persistent liar, who ultimately went on to turn into a social employee schooled in psychology, goes to nice lengths to look at the character and pressures that made his father a imply tyrant. He…

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