The Magnetic North
‘Sara Wheeler is the literary maestro of the earth’s frozen regions… The prose is startling and sharp-edged as the icy landscapes themselves’ Financial Times
Smashing through the Arctic Ocean with the crew of a Russian icebreaker, herding reindeer across the tundra with Lapps and shadowing the Trans-Alaskan pipeline with truckers, Sara Wheeler discovers a complex and ambiguous land belonging both to ancient myth and modern controversy.
The Magnetic North is an adroit combination of history, science and reflection in which Wheeler meditates on the role of the Arctic: fragmented lands which fed imaginations long before the scientists and oilmen showed up (not to mention desperado explorers who ate their own shoes).
The Magnetic North tells of all this, plus gulag ghosts, old and new Russia, colliding cultures and bioaccumulated toxins in polar bears.
‘A stylish and engaging account of some of the world’s most mysterious, unknowable spots and, like the best travel writing, is infused with the writer’s reflections on growing up, life and death’ Daily Telegraph
A wise, provoking and zestful chronicle, poetic, often tragic and always engaging. Wheeler, a prolific raconteur of distant places, has created the finest book on the Arctic since Hugh Brody's The Other Side of Eden -- Rory MacLean * Sunday Times * An excellent narrator, intelligent, amusing, poetic and down to earth -- Fergus Fleming * Literary Review * Her adventurous spirit, tireless intelligence, and joy shine through...a rare and precious talent -- Roger Hutchinson * Scotsman * Beautiful and terrifying * The Times * Wheeler's book teaches a lot about what is happening in the far north, which is valuable -- Kathleen James * Guardian *
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