“Kilcher skillfully ushers the reader into a daring frontier that centers on the oftentimes contentious dynamic between masculinity and vulnerability.” —Barnes&Noble.com
Son of a Midnight Land by Atz Kilcher
A powerful new memoir about growing up with a hard father in a hard land
Atz Kilcher learned many vital skills while helping his parents carve a homestead out of the Alaskan wilderness: how to work hard, think on his feet, make do, invent, and use what was on hand to accomplish whatever task was in front of him. He also learned how to lie in order to please his often volatile father and put himself in harm’s way to protect his mother and younger, weaker members of the family.
Much later in life, as Atz began to reflect on his upbringing, seek to understand his father, and heal his emotional scars, he discovered that the work of pioneering the frontier of the soul is an infinitely more difficult task than any of the back-breaking chores he performed on his family’s homestead. Learning to use new tools—honesty, vulnerability, forgiveness, acceptance—and building upon the good helped him heal and learn to embrace the value of resilience. This revised perspective has enabled him to tell an enhanced and more positive version of the legacy his father created and has him doing the most rewarding work of his life: mapping his own inner wilderness while drawing closer to his adult children, the next stewards of the land he helped his father carve out of the Alaskan frontier.
“As a daughter, this book is transformative. Very seldom do we get windows into our parents’ private lives with such honesty. But I am most excited about this book for others to read, because it proves anyone can find forgiveness, love, and even change at any age. This is a tale of great courage and a ceaseless hope for a better life. My dad was the son of pioneers in the wild lands of Alaska, but miraculously he became a pioneer of a new kind of untamed wilderness: he became an Inner Pioneer. I guess trailblazing is a family tradition.” —Jewel, singer and daughter of Atz Kilcher
“In reading this book, as a son, I cried tears of forgiveness; as a father, tears of regret and pain; and as a warrior of everyday life, tears of love, fear, and victory! He has somehow managed to heal himself enough to revisit shadows of his past and, through his words, bring us along in his journey to the light. We should all be as lucky to achieve such a feat in our lifetimes in the face of such diversity. A must-read!” —Atz Lee Kilcher, son of Atz Kilcher and star of Alaska: The Last Frontier
“Anyone familiar with the folksy troubadour of TV fame is in for a big surprise. Atz Kilcher spills out the dark torments of his rural upbringing, growing up hard and bitter, a self-medicating screw-up, until fatherhood forces him to face the family demons. Years of brave reflection—and, as he’s quick to add, professional therapy—turn this pensive homestead confessional into a small triumph of redemption.” —Tom Kizzia, New York Times bestselling author of Pilgrim’s Wilderness
“I’ve known Atz Kilcher and his family a long time, but never so well as I do after reading Son of a Midnight Land. Like the man, it is personal, honest, charming, and often funny. It’s the rare cowboy who can rope, yodel, and write. Atz is one of those.” —Tom Bodett, humorist, author, and panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!
Atz Kilcher grew up the eldest son of Yule and Ruth Kilcher, who emigrated from Switzerland to Alaska in the late 1930s, joining some of Homer’s earliest pioneer homesteaders. Today, Kilcher appears regularly alongside family members on Discovery Channel’s popular show Alaska: The Last Frontier. He also performs music around the country, occasionally alongside his singer-songwriter daughter, Jewel; he also enjoys weaving baskets for art exhibits, and spending as much time as possible around a campfire with his grown children and lovely wife, Bonnie.