Review: How to Survive in the North

Title: How to Survive in the North
Author: Luke Healy
Genre: Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Nobrow Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 15, 2016
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

With stunning narrative skill, this compelling graphic novel intricately weaves together true-life narratives from 1912, 1926 and a fictional story set in the present day. How To Survive in the North is an unforgettable journey of love and loss, showing the strength it takes to survive in the harshest conditions.


2013: Sully Barnaby is put on leave from the university where he works after having a relationship with a student. He finds comfort in the library, researching the Arctic expeditions of 1912 and 1926. The 1912 expedition follows a grumpy captain, Robert Bartlett, whose ship ends up stranded on a deserted island. In 1926, another group of explorers went on the same expedition. Ada Blackjack told their story of being stranded on the same island.

All of the characters in these three alternating narratives have to deal with some kind of crisis. Sully had a midlife crisis after being placed on a leave of absence. Bartlett and Blackjack had to solve problems to survive in the Arctic. Bartlett was a captain who had to make decisions to save his crew. Blackjack had to learn survival skills, such as how to hunt, so that she could survive until she was rescued. They all faced different forms of crisis and survivals.

Each of these stories were devastating in their own ways. Sully lost all of his life’s work and had to give up his job because of the relationship he had with his student. He learned from reading about the Arctic expeditions how to pick up his life and continue on. The 1912 and 1926 narratives were set in harsh living conditions. Many people died on those expeditions. They also had to hunt and kill animals to survive. Some of these scenes were upsetting to read, but they reflect that period and place in history.

How to Survive in the North is a fascinating graphic novel about the Arctic expeditions.

Thank you Nobrow Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Americana by Luke Healy

Have you read How to Survive in the North? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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