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Independent Press Award

2024 Distinguished Favorite

Whispers from the Valley of the Yak: A Memoir of Coming Full Circle

Jacquelyn Lenox Tuxill

Jackie, born of medical missionaries in China during World War II, rejected her connection to her birth country growing up because it made her different.

A return to China with her parents in 1980, however, is life-changing. After always having known her mother as distant and emotionally abusive, she is stunned to see a loving side to her for the first time―and pleasantly surprised by the affinity she feels for her birth country.

These revelations launch Jackie on a quest to understand her difficult childhood and who she is beyond “wife,” “mother,” and “daughter.” Her journey takes her first to the mountainous landscapes of Alaska, where she finds a passion for nature and begins a thirty-five-year environmental career. As she builds her life there and later in New England, she makes multiple trips to her birth country―with her parents, alone, and with her adult children. Each of these trips provides a benchmark for the growth and transformation she undergoes as she learns to create the authentic life she craves.

Deeply reflective and sensitively rendered, Whispers from the Valley of the Yak touches on the healing power of nature and universal themes of unconditional love and forgiveness―and, most importantly, being true to oneself.

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