A powerful new memoir by Atz Kilcher about growing up with a hard father in a hard land.
Known to many as the patriarch of Discovery Channel’s Emmy-shortlisted program Alaska: The Last Frontier, Kilcher is also an artist, a writer, a musician, and the man who taught his daughter, music superstar Jewel. Kilcher’s tough upbringing in the Alaskan frontier is described vividly in this memoir. His mother, a cultured Swiss woman, struggled to adapt to the family’s new way of life, far from civilization, while his father was determined to make their new life work. Kilcher reflects on the survival skills and habits he took on because of this upbringing—some that served him well and others from which he later had to learn to free himself in order to become a better man and a good father to his own children.
Kilcher’s reckoning with his unusual childhood builds with each chapter of Son of a Midnight Land, offering readers a realistic look at the emotional price he paid for his father’s dream to homestead in Alaska’s remote wilderness.
A determination to map his own inner wilderness using new tools—brutal honesty, vulnerability, forgiveness, acceptance, and building upon the good—helps Kilcher restore his optimism. The memoir also highlights how he is now able to draw closer to his adult children, seeking ways to become a true guide to them and pass on an enhanced version of his parents’ courageous legacy.
Progressive reflections of his most poignant memories bridge a lifetime: from the effects of cabin fever he watched his mother endure to the mutual softening of souls at his father’s deathbed. Throughout the memoir, Kilcher’s message builds to the ultimate revelation that his father’s harsh manner was essentially fallout from his own fear of failure. Forgiveness begins when Kilcher realizes his father loved his family beyond measure, but that relational intimacy was a luxury he simply didn’t have time for. Letting his father off the hook sets Kilcher free to optimistically cultivate the good things—and the good land—his father worked so hard to create.