On the central and north coast of British Columbia, the Great Bear Rainforest is the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world, containing more organic matter than any other terrestrial ecosystem on the planet. The area plays host to a wide range of species, from thousand-year-old western cedars to humpback whales to iconic white Spirit bears.According to local residents, another giant is said to live in these woods. For centuries people have reported encounters with the Sasquatch-a species of hairy bipedal man-apes said to inhabit the deepest recesses of this pristine wilderness. Driven by his own childhood obsession with the creatures, John Zada decides to seek out the diverse inhabitants of this rugged and far-flung coast, where nearly everyone has a story to tell, from a scientist who dedicated his life to researching the Sasquatch, to members of the area's First Nations, to a former grizzly bear hunter-turned-nature tour guide. With each tale, Zada discovers that his search for the Sasquatch is a quest for something infinitely more complex, cutting across questions of human perception, scientific inquiry, indigenous traditions, the environment, and the power and desire of the human imagination to believe in-or reject-something largely unseen. Teeming with gorgeous nature writing and a driving narrative that takes us through the forests and into the valleys of a remote and seldom visited region, In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond sheds light on what our decades-long pursuit of the Sasquatch can tell us about ourselves and invites us to welcome wonder for the unknown back into our lives.
Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press
Number of pages: 320
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
Praise for In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond:An Amazon Best Book of the Year
Named a Must-Read Book of 2019 by Book Riot"Books on supernatural phenomena typically steer one of two courses: tabloid gullibility or mean-spirited debunkery. Zada deftly tightropes between the two . . . In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond is not really about sasquatch. It is about how we see what we want to see and don't see what we're not prepared to see . . . A quirky and oddly captivating tale."-Eric Weiner, Washington Post"An adventure story in the tradition of Paul Theroux and, in parts, Jon Krakauer . . . Zada is a latter-day Henry David Thoreau or John Muir . . . Searching for an elusive ape, Zada has a knack for meeting unforgettable humans."-Peter Kuitenbrouwer, Globe and Mail"If people can believe in God, why not Sasquatch? Zada takes us through the temperate rainforest of British Columbia looking for both the hairy bipedal and the mythology and landscape surrounding it. Terrific nature writing with a furry twist."-Kerri Arsenault, Orion "Full of dramatic, tense chase scenes-the book is, quite literally, an adventure story."-Nick Ripatrazone, The Millions"Zada wonders only in passing about how big Bigfoot's feet are or how richly the creature may stink. His concerns are more metaphysical: What does it mean to believe in something absurd, something that eludes any effort to prove its existence? Roaming through the First Nations communities of coastal British Columbia, Zada camps out at the foggy junction of lore and fact. He's a disarming travel companion, and his curiosity is contagious."-Dan Piepenbring, Paris Review"As eloquent and big-hearted as, for instance, Peter Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard . . . Despite the towering creature at its heart, the genius of In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond is most often its human pathos . . . Odd, winning gravitas . . . The shelf of serious, beautifully done Bigfoot books isn't exactly a crowded one, but it now has an indisputable classic."-Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly"Less the hooting and wood-knocking sensationalism of Finding Bigfoot (though that show certainly has its charms) than Robert Michael Pyles's Where Bigfoot Walks, another book that leans toward respectability with its emphasis on natural history. Zada's entry is a beautifully rendered account of a mist-shrouded world suspended between myth and modernity: its people, culture, ecology, and for receptive readers, its most mysterious denizen."-Jon Foro, Amazon Book Review"In seeking to discover Bigfoot, Zada uncovers a different story, one that's about all of us . . . [In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond] belongs among the travel memoirs. It's literature."-Oklahoman"For lovers of nature writing who also definitely want to know about the Sasquatch (so, everyone)."-Emily Temple, Literary Hub"Zada writes engagingly in the tradition of the best travel writers with genuine feeling for this anachronistic humanoid symbol of the lost world."-Fortean Times"Bigfoot lives-maybe, as this X-Files-worthy tale reveals . . . Traveling deep into the old-growth forests of British Columbia, [Zada] had a look for himself, and it's not too much of a spoiler to say that he adds to the seen/unproven inventory . . . Believe or don't, the author writes nimbly and well, and his story is modest and evenhanded even as he lets us know just where he stands. An entertaining, provocative exercise in cryptozoology."-Kirkus Reviews"In this fascinating nature narrative, freelance writer Zada searches for evidence of Bigfoot in the forests of the Pacific Northwest . . . Zada relates his adventures, including his encounters with bears, along with his observations into the collective unconscious of humans and how brains construct reality . . . Zada's fun, well-written travelogue will interest environmentalists and armchair adventurers alike."-Publishers Weekly"Zada strikes an engaging balance between curiosity and skepticism, letting the locals' convincing stories speak for themselves while probing the science behind misperceptions and cultural beliefs. While fringe-watchers will relish Zada's Sasquatch research, nature buffs will also enjoy his lush descriptions of the Canadian Pacific Northwest wilderness."-Booklist"John Zada is one of those rare writers who conjures spellbinding prose through an acute sense of nature's significance and the mythologies we all inhabit. A profound debut."-Robert Twigger, author of White Mountain: A Cultural Adventure through the Himalayas and Red Nile: A Biography of the World's Greatest River"In the world of travel writing there are two kinds of author. The first writes from the outside in, at best only scratching the surface of the lands through which they travel. The second kind of author writes in a profound and elegant way, the narrative charged with humility-observed from the inside out. John Zada is an author of the second approach-from the school of master travel writers. His prose is an utter delight, and his observances are shrewd and often extraordinary. But most of all, Zada has the ability to suck readers in deep, so that they're right there with him on the trail of the Sasquatch. I recommend In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond more highly than any other travel book I have read in years. With time it will become a classic, and Zada will be recognized as the foremost chronicler of what is surely one of the most beguiling preserves in all adventure."-Tahir Shah, author of In Arabian Nights and The Caliph's House"Finally a truly talented writer approaches a subject matter that has been otherwise relegated to a cultural punchline thanks to, primarily, reality television. John Zada's quest for this holy grail and his compulsion for emotional narrative is nothing less than a modern-day mythical journey; and he shares it with us in a perfect blend of poetic prose and creative story-telling. I took this journey myself when I began producing ten documentary films on the subject of Bigfoot and John completely captures the essence of what you experience: the landscape first, followed by the people and their rich culture, and finally the human mind as it tries to make sense of what might be the world's most bewildering phenomenon. Only after that journey is completed, as John did, does one finally meet the creature itself."-Survivorman Les Stroud"A fascinating and unique account of the Bigfoot phenomenon that is equal parts memoir, psychology, travelogue, cultural commentary and manifesto on nature. Totally gripping and unputdownable. Destined to be a classic of adventure and a standout among the more conventional works on the Sasquatch."-Jason Webster, author of A Death in Valencia