Gustato spiritu, desipit omnis caro.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.


Four Corners


“A luminously written, thoughtful account of a solo crossing of Papua New Guinea… exemplary travel writing.”

-- Kirkus Reviews

Four Corners is not just a daring adventure pitting one woman against the harsh realities of a country like Papua New Guinea. It is a very well-crafted narrative that delves deep beneath surfaces, written by a woman with a promising career in a literary genre dominated by men.”

-- Providence Sunday Journal

“Salak’s lively writing coupled with her engrossing voyage make this a superior travel memoir.”

-- Booklist

“In this gripping adventure story, Salak… not only achieved her goal of crossing Papua New Guinea, but also her lifelong dream of authorship with this consistently interesting and well-written memoir.”

-- Publishers Weekly

"A young woman journeys deep into the untamed jungle, wrestling with love and loss, trauma and healing, faith and redemption, in this sweeping debut from "the gutsiest woman adventurer of our day."

--Book Magazine

“Kira Salak is a rare find—a gifted storyteller who is also a daring journeywoman. On the road she is wily, gracious, and determined. On the page she is smart, elegant, and concise. She can get herself out of tight corners and live to tell about it in lyrical, carefully-wrought prose. This well-written narrative carries us along both through New Guinea and on the page.”

-- Mary Morris, author of Nothing to Declare: Memoir of a Woman Traveling Alone

“By turns humorous and harrowing, Four Corners is on one level the adventure chronicle of a plucky (and, at times, very lucky) woman maneuvering through an inhospitable landscape. On the other, it is an extraordinarily compelling meditation on what draws all of us to the wilderness, and what we might learn there.”

-- Scott Anderson, author of The Man Who Tried to Save the World

Four Corners is a splendid read, from Tahiti to home... I savored the writing, the wit, the poignant introspection. Kira Salak is too young to be this wise—or maybe too old to have been this foolish. Yearning to shed the fear gripping her since childhood, this shy, intelligent, provocatively naive woman propels herself into New Guinea's dangerous interior to live by her wits and emerges whole, humbled, relieved of her innocence. Keenly observed, deeply felt, her story will inspire readers—not to repeat her journey into the jungle, but to recognize the truths she acquires there.”

-- Mary Kay Blakely, author of American Mom and Wake Me When It's Over...

“A deeply absorbing account of a young woman driven to danger, Kira Salak’s odyssey through Papua New Guinea and across the terra infirma of the heart locates precisely the places where obsession and terror (plus a dollop of humor) meet long enough for a kind of wisdom to emerge. There are no long lyrical detours here, no operatic diversions; she takes us right into the collision between wildness and what is called civilization, between personal freedom and social commitment.”

-- Lynn Stegner, author of Pipers at the Gates of Dawn

“Kira Salak has written a remarkable work about her journey into Papua New Guinea. She searches out the unique and tells of her physical difficulties with wit and fascination. Her encounters with fierce-looking local men and women are surprisingly accurate and full of charm.”

-- Tobias Schneebaum, cultural anthropologist;
author of Keep the River on Your Right and Where the Spirits Dwell


Salak undertook an epic, solo jungle trek across the remote Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea--often called the last frontier of adventure travel. Traveling by dugout canoe and on foot, experiencing the dangers and wonders of a largely untouched world, she became the first woman to traverse PNG. Salak stayed in villages where cannibalism was still practiced behind the backs of the missionaries, meeting mysterious witch doctors and befriending the leader of the OPM guerrilla movement who fought against the Indonesian occupation of Western New Guinea.

The New York Times Book Review selected Four Corners as a Notable Travel Book of the Year, writing, "Kira Salak is tough, a real-life Lara Croft." Book Magazine called her "the gutsiest--and some say craziest--woman adventurer of our day." Edward Marriott proclaimed Four Corners to be "a travel book that transcends the genre. It is, like all the best travel narratives, a resonant interior journey, and offers wisdom for our times."


Publisher: National Geographic Society
Date Published: November 2004
ISBN-13: 9780792274179