South Pole Station: A Novel
The men and women who live at South Pole Station are a varied bunch. Many are connected by intense scientific inquiry; others have personal reasons for seeking the remotest of remote homes. What links them all is an almost inhuman tolerance–even desire–for isolation and distance, where the sun doesn’t rise for months and creature comforts are few. Cooper Gosling doesn’t seem like a typical “Polie.” A painter, she receives an arts fellowship requiring her to live and work at South Pole Station, though her grief over her brother’s suicide, more than a search for artistic inspiration, is what really drives her journey. When the arrival of a climate-change skeptic introduces chaos to South Pole Station, Cooper learns firsthand the cruelty of her environment–and finds unexpected community among the researchers and staff who show that life is worth living, even with all the grief, uncertainty, and mysteries that go with it.
The habits and personalities of the eccentric Polies make South Pole Station inescapably funny, but the book resonates more deeply than a reader may initially expect. The grand unknowns it addresses–how did the universe begin?–are, for Cooper and the others, movingly personal.
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