Ice Diaries

By Jean McNeil

Ice Diaries
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Winner of the Banff Mountain Book Festival Grand Prize and one of the Guardian’s Best Books of 2016, now in paperback.

“Ice Diaries is stunningly written and should be on the shelf of anyone fascinated by the globe’s final geographic and psychic frontier. ” — The ... Read more


Overview

 

Winner of the Banff Mountain Book Festival Grand Prize and one of the Guardian’s Best Books of 2016, now in paperback.

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

“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. ” — The Chicago Tribune

British Canadian novelist Jean McNeil spent a year as writer-in-residence with the British Antarctic Survey, and four months on the world’s most enigmatic continent — Antarctica. Access to the Antarctic remains largely reserved for scientists, and it is the only piece of earth that is nobody’s country. Ice Diaries is the story of McNeil’s years spent in ice, not only in the Antarctic but her subsequent travels to Greenland, Iceland, and Svalbard.

In the spirit of the diaries of earlier Antarctic explorers, McNeil mixes travelogue, popular science, and memoir to examine the history of our fascination with ice. In entering this world, McNeil unexpectedly finds herself confronting her own upbringing in the Maritimes, 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 haunting story of the relationship between beauty and terror, loss and abandonment, transformation and triumph.

 

Jean McNeil

 

Jean McNeil is the author of 14 books of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and travel. She has twice been the winner of the PRISM International competition, and her work has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Journey Prize, the National Magazine awards, and the Pushcart Prize. She is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Originally from Nova Scotia, she lives in London, England.

 

Awards

  • Banff Mountain Book Competition 2016, Winner
  • Banff Mountain Book Competition 2016, Winner

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

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

“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

“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

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

 

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