We are delighted Maria Mutch, author of the exquisite Know the Night: A Memoir of Survival in the Small Hours includes us in the Random House spring news, Retreat. “We asked author Maria Mutch about her selected reading list that help guide and shape her new book, Know the Night.“
“There is nothing like reading about Antarctica in winter to gain a little perspective on the weather. There is the added advantage that the reading also contains elements of the fantastic. The experience is not unlike being a child and reading about imaginary lands. I researched Antarctica as I was writing my book, Know the Night, the story of being awake with my son with disabilities and my fascination with the polar explorer Richard Byrd. Despite its distance and extreme nature, Antarctica is vital as an environmental barometer, as well as a source of unending inspiration. There are a number of classic Ice books and explorers’ diaries, but the books I’ve listed here are less well-known and just as captivating.
Maria’s book is well worth reading. “An unforgettable memoir on the experience of isolation and the miraculous power of human connection.
As a baby, Gabriel’s first words and affinity for sign language enthralled his adoring parents. When these words fell away, and his medical diagnoses multiplied, Maria Mutch committed herself entirely to her son’s care. Then, for about two years, Gabe slept very little, drawing mother and son into a nocturnal existence of almost constant wakefulness.
In breathtaking prose, Maria shares the intensely personal challenges and revelations brought about by this period. As Gabe’s sleeping hours dwindled, care took place within an isolated, often frightening world, in which Maria’s desire for connection and meaning expanded. She became fascinated with stories of Antarctic exploration, and found a companion in Admiral Richard E. Byrd, an explorer who lived by himself in the polar darkness for months in 1934 and later wrote about his struggle for survival in a book called Alone. Reimagining Byrd’s story and interweaving it with her own, Maria illuminates a search for love, understanding and comfort against the terrors of the unknown that will resonate with anyone who has lain awake in the dark, or longed to protect a loved one. Know the Night is a powerful journey into the mysteries of nighttime and the human mind, and a testament to the extraordinary bond between mother and child.” From Random House