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Compass Lines: Journeys Toward Home by John Messick
Porphyry Press, March 2023

From Antarctica to the Arctic, the Florida swamps to a Cambodia tattoo parlor, a Middle East bicycle route to a Yukon River canoe trip, Compass Lines: Journeys Toward Home by debut Alaska author John Messick brings readers on adventures that traverse latitudes and continents in pursuit of that most elusive place: home. These essays ask readers to think about encounters with cultures not our own through acts of witness—the imprint of immigration, the foreshadowing of war, the complexities of masculinity. Even after settling in Alaska, Messick finds the same colonial legacies taking a toll on land and people. Slowly, through deep and difficult interactions with the natural world, Messick realizes that sustainable existence depends on community and shared values. Neither travel nor homecoming are about conquering obstacles, but about applying attention and learning to listen.

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