December 19, 2012 - 14:21 — SarahVessalo
It was while reading Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple's delightful new novel of a precocious teenager's adventures chasing her agoraphobic mother around the South Pole, that it hit me: thank goodness I don't live in Antarctica. As we face the winter solstice and our first legitimate snowstorm in Chicago, many of us grumble about the season, but it's nothing compared to what penguins endure. Bee (the aforementioned teenager, not a penguin) says of the Antarctic cold when she first experiences it:
"Instantly my ears stung and my nose became a burning-cold stone at the end of my face. The wind blew so hard it froze the inside of my eyes. The tops of my cheeks felt like they might crack. I opened my mouth, and the saliva on the inside froze, like an ice cave. When I swallowed, which took all my effort, it tasted like death."
Makes you feel a little bit better about our balmy Midwestern winters, right?
If, like me, this is your kind of perverse winter-time comfort, check out some of these other fictional tributes to the South Pole:
- The Silent Sea by Clive Cussler
Cabrillo, chasing the remnants of a crashed satellite in the Argentine jungle, stumbles upon a shocking revelation that leads him in search of an ancient Chinese expedition--and a curse that seems to have survived for more than five hundred years.
- Dead Men by Richard Pierce
Obsessed with the 1912 death of Robert Scott in Antarctica, Birdie Bowers collapses on her way to view relics from Scott's expedition and is rescued by computer expert Adam, who falls in love with her and agrees to join a precarious trek to the Antarctic.
- The Survival Methods and Mating Rituals of Men and Marine Mammals by Chris Kenry
Author Davis Garner escapes his mundane life by landing a job as a technical writer on a research vessel in Antarctica, where he meets a compulsive e-mail hacker, a lovelorn vessel technician, and a scientist with questionable motives.
- The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
Marion and Phillip Byrd reside in the City, home to the dearly departed as long as they remain in the memories of loved ones on Earth. But the Byrds' days may be numbered-daughter Laura is trapped alone at an Antarctic research station.
- Blood and Ice by Robert Masello
After months of seclusion following a tragic accident, journalist Michael Wolfe accepts an assignment in Antarctica, where the scientists and explorers at a South Pole research station stumble upon two bodies at the bottom of the ocean, two young people who carry a deadly curse in their blood that allows them to rise from their tomb to live again.