My book, Whispers from the Valley of the Yak: A Memoir of Coming Full Circle, will be published on September 26, 2023 by She Writes Press.
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.
Praise for Whispers from the Valley of the Yak
“When we journey into new lands to find insights into who we are and how we fit in, we are no longer on journeys but on pilgrimages. Jacquelyn Tuxill’s memoir takes us to the remote ranges of eastern Tibet to learn about her parents’ explorations nearly a century ago, and in finding them, finds herself.”
~ Rick Ridgeway, Life Lived Wild and Below Another Sky
“This gripping memoir combines a story of familial struggles and reconciliation with the grandeur amid high mountains. Her climactic journeys to her birthplace of Chengdu, with her parents and later her grown children, rewarded the author with a vantage-point from which to understand and affirm her personal history…fine travel writing.”
~ John Elder, Reading the Mountains of Home
“[Tuxill’s memoir] is a gorgeous portrayal of what can happen when a person follows their curiosity and deepest personal truth. Tuxill takes the reader into magical landscapes of both place and heart with the insight of a woman who has lived a rich life worth reflecting on. Whispers is a gift!”
~ Cami Ostman, founder and director, The Narrative Project
“From her birthplace in China to her connection with Denali, North America’s tallest peak, Tuxill navigates her early years as a mom in the shadow of her rocky relationship with her own mother. Ultimately, Tuxill explores how she came to terms with the unexpected landscape of her heart. A wonderfully rendered story.”
~ Kaylene Johnson-Sullivan, Our Perfect Wild
“Tuxill shares her deep-seated passion for wild mountain landscapes, first gained in the national campaign to protect lands in Alaska. Returning to China…she discovers the soaring mountains, raging rivers, and deep gorges of the Tibetan Plateaus eastern rim and vows both places will remain in her heart forever….flowing, beautiful language.”
~ Charles Clusen, chair, Alaska Coalition 1977-1981
“Jacquelyn Tuxill’s adventurous, curious spirit shines forth in this memoir of self-discovery…. She guides us from the wilds of Alaska to the mountains of Tibet and into her own treasure trove of memory, delivering a bold tale of journeys within and without.
~ Susan Ritz, A Dream to Die For
Jacquelyn Tuxill’s deeply moving, profound memoir…explores how unique places and powerful memories offer opportunities for rebirth and discovery.”
~ Jeffrey P. Roberts, Salted and Cured
“From a box of letters written from 1930s China by her medical missionary parents, Jacquelyn Tuxill follows land and emotions to find her authentic self. Both painful and joyful, Whispers from the Valley of the Yak shares Tuxill’s fascinating journey of perseverance.”
~ Sas Carey, Marrying Mongolia, A Memoir