FAST INTO THE NIGHT by Debbie Clarke Moderow


A Woman, Her Dogs, and Their Journey North on the Iditarod Trail
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Moderow briskly recounts her experiences in the brutally challenging Iditarod race, a journey that requires “passion, dedication to learning, and an immense amount of patience,” not to mention “the collaboration of many beating hearts.”

The author’s memoir proceeds by leaps and bounds, now in forward, now in reverse, in Connecticut, Vermont, and Wyoming, but mostly on the snowy, icy, windy mushing trails of Alaska. Moderow recounts how her parents nurtured in her their adventurous streak—not wild but zestful. After graduating from Princeton and a brief stint as a paralegal in Manhattan, the author moved to Wyoming, where she had her heart broken and decided to move yet farther west and north to Alaska. There, she met her future husband and had children but also fell into a deep depression. Then she became familiar with sled dogs, and her life changed. Moderow touchingly describes her life’s transformations, including the deaths of her parents and the lasting ramifications of slipping silently into a glacial crevasse. As the memoir’s larger picture takes on shape, the author threads into the narrative the stories of her two Iditarods (in 2003 and 2005), tales of great intensity and fraught progress leavened with light farce and moments where readers may ask, what was she thinking? Moderow understates the sheer roughness of the endeavor, but she engagingly chronicles one wind-blasted, aching-cold day after another, long, slippery runs and crashes on black ice, and injuries that were likely more painful than she lets on. The author also faced the treachery (or wisdom?) of her dogs: “‘Let’s go!’ I call. No one budges. Two by two they sit on defiant haunches….The dogs won’t press on and they won’t turn back.” The 2005 race went more smoothly, though the dogs engaged in another sit-down strike in response to the absurd cold. By then, however, Moderow was far more experienced and understood the words of another old musher: “You can’t push a rope.”

A soulful memoir of adventure and one woman’s love for her sled dogs.

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-544-48412-2
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2015

Kirkus Interview
Debbie Clarke Moderow
February 29, 2016

At age 47, a mother of two, Debbie Clark Moderow was not your average musher in the Iditarod, but that’s where she found herself when, less than 200 miles from the finish line, her dogs decided they didn’t want to run anymore. After all her preparation, after all the careful management of her team, and after their running so well for over a week, the huskies balked. But the sting of not completing the race after coming so far was nothing compared to the disappointment Moderow felt in having lost touch with her dogs. Fast into the Night is the story of Moderow’s journeys along the Iditarod trail with her team of spunky huskies: Taiga and Su, Piney and Creek, Nacho and Zeppy, Juliet and the headstrong leader, Kanga. The first failed attempt crushed Moderow’s confidence, but after reconnecting with her dogs she returned and ventured again to Nome, pushing through injuries, hallucinations, epic storms, flipped sleds, and clashing personalities, both human and canine. “A soulful memoir of adventure and one woman’s love for her sled dogs,” our reviewer writes. View video >


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