The Black Penguin
(University of Wisconsin Press, April 25, 2017)
A devout young boy in rural Ohio, Andrew Evans had his life mapped for him: baptism, mission, Brigham Young University, temple marriage, and children of his own. But as an awkward gay kid, bullied and bored, he escaped into the glossy pages of National Geographic and the wide promise of the world atlas. The Black Penguin is Evans's memoir, travel tale, and love story of his eventual journey to the farthest reaches of the map, a wild yet touching adventure across some of the most astonishing landscapes on Earth.Ejected from church and shunned by his family as a young man, Evans embarks on an ambitious overland journey halfway across the world. Riding public transportation, he crosses swamps, deserts, mountains, and jungles, slowly approaching his lifelong dream and ultimate goal: Antarctica. With each new mile comes laughter, pain, unexpected friendship, true weirdness, unsettling realities, and some hair-raising moments that eventually lead to a singular discovery on a remote beach at the bottom of the world.Evans's 12,000-mile voyage becomes a soulful quest to balance faith, family, and self, reminding us that, in the end, our lives are defined by the roads we take, the places we touch, and those we hold nearest.