Debbie Clarke Moderow
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.


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.

Recent Interviews

Katey Sagal

author of GRACE NOTES

April 10, 2017
GRACE NOTES by Katey Sagal In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >

Emma Donoghue


April 3, 2017
THE LOTTERYS PLUS ONE by Emma Donoghue In Emma Donoghue’s new middle-grade novel, The Lotterys Plus One, Sumac Lottery is nine years old and the self-proclaimed "good girl" of her (VERY) large, (EXTREMELY) unruly family. And what a family the Lotterys are: four parents, children both adopted and biological, and a menagerie of pets, all living and learning together in a sprawling house called Camelottery. Then one day, the news breaks that one of their grandfathers is suffering from dementia and will be coming to live with them. And not just any grandfather; the long dormant "Grumps," who fell out with his son so long ago that he hasn't been part of any of their lives. Suddenly, everything changes. Sumac has to give up her room to make the newcomer feel at home. She tries to be nice, but prickly Grumps's clearly disapproves of how the Lotterys live: whole grains, strange vegetables, rescue pets, a multicultural household....He's worse than just tough to get along with—Grumps has got to go! But can Sumac help him find a home where he belongs? “Full of clever names and wordplay, this engaging tale is moving without veering into sentimentality,” our critic writes in a starred review. “For all the Lotterys’ apparent eccentricity, the novel delves into universal themes of family relationships that will resonate with readers from all backgrounds.” View video >