Ice Diaries: An Antarctic Memoir

McNeil, Jean

$21.95
  • Winner of the Banff Mountain Book Festival Grand Prize and one of the Guardian’s Best Books of 2016.

    Drawn to understand what we might lose in a world without ice, acclaimed novelist and short-story writer Jean McNeil spent four months on the world’s most enigmatic continent — Antarctica. In the spirit of the diaries of Antarctic explorers Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton, McNeil brings the austere beauty and the constant danger of the continent to life. Weaving science and narrative to examine the history of our fascination with ice, McNeil draws vivid portraits of the people who are drawn to this unforgiving continent and the importance of the research conducted in the world’s icy places. Her descriptions of the ships and bases, those thin membranes against the elements, are unforgettable.

    Here, at the bottom of the world, the cold pulls at memory, and McNeil unexpectedly finds herself confronting her own Maritime upbringing, a harrowing childhood she thought she had left behind. Instead, she is brought face to face with the lifelong effects of growing up in a cold place and how the climates of childhood frame our emotional thermodynamics for life.

    Ice Diaries is a rare glimpse at an elusive continent and a haunting story of the relationship between beauty and terror, loss and abandonment, transformation and triumph.

    AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK NOVEMBER 6, 2018. PRE-ORDER NOW!

    Now available as an audiobook. {Listen to a sample.}

  • Jean McNeil is the author of 13 books including five novels and a collection of short fiction. Her work has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Journey Prize, and she has won the Prism International prize for short fiction and narrative nonfiction. Her novel The Dhow House (2017) is also published by ECW; her most recent novel, Fire on the Mountain, was published in 2018. She teaches at the University of East Anglia and lives in London, England.

  • Published: March 2016

    Paperback Edition: November 6, 2018

    ISBN: 9781770413184

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 384

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Reviews

Ice Diaries is stunningly written and should be on the shelf of anyone fascinated by the globe’s final geographic and psychic frontier.”— New York Times

“McNeil’s first-person narrative of her experience wholly absorbs. . . Most of Ice Diaries, however, reads like a novel. It’s a paradox: the best novels emulate real life and the best true stories emulate fiction.” — Maclean’s

Ice Diaries artfully conveys both the magical allure and the deadly hauteur of this icy world that few of us will ever see.” — Toronto Star

“In Ice Diaries, McNeil brings the austere beauty and the constant danger of the continent to life. Weaving science and narrative, she draws vivid portraits of the people who are drawn to the unforgiving continent and the importance of the research conducted in the world’s icy places. Her descriptions of the ships and bases, those thin membranes against the elements, are unforgettable. . . Ice Diaries is a rare glimpse at an elusive continent and a haunting story of the relationship between beauty and terror, loss and abandonment, transformation and triumph.” — SirReadaLot.org

“It's a discussion of the Antarctic as a physical landscape — its impact on the imagination — and an exploration of one person's inner world.” — Chicago Tribune

 

“The reason I picked this book up was because I love that combination of geography, history and science but from a writer’s perspective. . . All in all this was a varied and enjoyable read.” — Books Are a Uniquely Portable Magic

“[McNeil's] new book is a welcome literary-minded addition to a category of books dominated by male explorers.” — Metro

“McNeil is a tremendous writer who brings the Antarctic landscape to life with the deftness of her prose, and her memoir is rich with fascinating details.” — Pickle Me This

“The first and undoubtably most successful part is the descriptive writing about the landscape of Antarctica and the conditions of life on a base there. . . It is this type of descriptive writing which is the real strength of the book. It's interesting to learn the details of a scientific expedition under extreme conditions, of course, but it is the Antarctic we want to visualize, and we can, though McNeil's remarkable writing.” – The Fiddlehead

“She writes about the loneliness, the fear, the utter darkness, and the rare an d incredible beauty of places few of us will ever visit. Highly recommended.” — For the Love of Books