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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 05/2017
  • 978-9198391305 B06XT6XJQV
  • 168 pages
  • $39
Due North

Adult; Spirituality/Inspirational; (Market)

Due North is a collection of travel observations, reflections, and snapshots spanning two decades across colors, cultures, and continents by travel writer and photographer Lola Akinmade Akerstrom.

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.50 out of 10

Assessment:

Idea: This arresting volume pairs the author's vibrant photography with her brief essays about her journeys across the world. The photos and essays complement each other well, each adding resonance to the other. The resulting book is a portrait of not just its author's travels but of her way of seeing, and it's a pleasure to experience the world with her. That said, the book's wanderings might gain some power from the addition of a narrative throughline or more sense of how travel has affected the writer/photographer's life.

Prose: While often elegant and touched with poetry, Åkerström's prose descriptions of the locales she visits aren't quite as vivid as her photographs, which are extraordinary. Instead, the essays tend to center on characters that she has met or her experience of traveling itself, while letting the photos summon the essence of the places she visits. The writing is polished and engaging, especially when Åkerström captures some narrative momentum, as in the poignant scenes she captures talking to local characters she encounters, or her mother's tracking down of a loved one.

Originality: Occasionally, when she documents her excursion to a well-documented place like Machu Pichu, Åkerström doesn't offer much new insight, though the images she captures are fabulous. The essays are strongest when she finds the unexpected, tracking fishmongers or  photographers, or reporting from a U.S. naturalization ceremony or how politics have affected the markets of Lagos.

Execution: Åkerström presents her essays as snapshots, and the effect of reading the book is similar to that of paging through a photo album. Still, those "snapshots" often touch upon fascinating issues, opinions, and experiences that readers will certainly want to know more about--the snapshots tease a bigger, more personal picture than what "Due North" ultimately offers. Finally, without a narrative throughline, those snapshots/essays never quite accumulate into a larger view of the world or of travel itself.

Date Submitted: October 03, 2019

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 05/2017
  • 978-9198391305 B06XT6XJQV
  • 168 pages
  • $39

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