The Library of Ice
Mr B's review
Mr B’s Christmas Catalogue Review 2018
Nancy Campbell’s clear, intelligent and captivating storytelling transports the reader to the many homes of ice, from remote Arctic settlements to the ice houses of Calcutta. She examines the impact of ice on our lives, at a time when our lives are impacting on the continued existence of polar ice. ‘The Library of Ice’ combines travel, memoir and science writing, and is a vital and insightful book.
`A wonderful book: Nancy Campbell is a fine storyteller with a rare physical intelligence. The extraordinary brilliance of her eye confers the reader a total immersion in the rimy realms she explores. Glaciers, Arctic floe, verglas, frost and snow – I can think of no better or warmer guide to the icy ends of the Earth’ Dan Richards, author of Climbing Days
A vivid and perceptive book combining memoir, scientific and cultural history with a bewitching account of landscape and place, which will appeal to readers of Robert Macfarlane, Roger Deakin and Olivia Laing.
Long captivated by the solid yet impermanent nature of ice, by its stark, rugged beauty, acclaimed poet and writer Nancy Campbell sets out from the world’s northernmost museum – at Upernavik in Greenland – to explore it in all its facets. From the Bodleian Library archives to the traces left by the great polar expeditions, from remote Arctic settlements to the ice houses of Calcutta, she examines the impact of ice on our lives at a time when it is itself under threat from climate change.
The Library of Ice is a fascinating and beautifully rendered evocation of the interplay of people and their environment on a fragile planet, and of a writer’s quest to define the value of her work in a disappearing landscape.
`The writer and poet offers reflections on ice and snow that draw on art, science and history… a dreamlike book.’ – The Guardian
`It is a sparkling and wonderful meditation on a substance we must cherish’ – The Independent
`It is a pleasant brew infused with elements not only of travel and history, but also of memoir and personal reflection’- Literary Review
`Ms Campbell, a penniless but intrepid traveller, braves miserable bus journeys, freezing rain, dark and intense cold, but still manages to write rapturously of the beauties of the Arctic’- The Economist
`The Library of Ice instantly transported me elsewhere… This luminous book is both beautifully written and astute in its observations, turning the pages of time backwards and revealing, like the archive of the earth’s climate stored in layers of solidified water, the embedded meanings of the world’s icy realms. It is a book as urgently relevant as it is wondrous’ Julian Hoffman, author of The Heart of Small Things
`An extraordinary work not only for the perspicacity and innate experience of the author who leads the reader carefully across intertwined icy tracks of crystallised geographics, melting myths and frozen exploration histories, but through her own tender diagnostics of what reading ice can show us in these times … Perilous in its scope, exacting in its observation, wild in intellect, The Library of Ice captures the reader’s attention almost as if caught in ice itself’ MacGillivray, author of The Nine of Diamonds: Sorroial Mordantless
`This is travel writing to be treasured. A biography of ice, the element that has another life, with hard facts thawed and warmed by a poet’s voice. Campbell’s writing is companionable, curious, deeply researched and with no bragging about the intrepidity that has taken her between winter-dark Greenland, Polar libaries, Scottish curling rinks, Alpine glaciers and Henry Thoreau’s pond at Walden’ Jasper Winn, author of Paddle
`The is not one inelegant or flabby line in the 300 pages of the best writing I have relished this year. W.G. Sebald would have loved, envied and recognised a fellow spirit.’ Horatio Clare, The Spectator
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