This is KLCC. I’m Connie Bennett, Director of Eugene Public Library, with a book review of “My Last Continent” by Midge Raymond.
A trip to Antarctica usually starts from Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world. It’s motto, “fin del mundo, principio de todo" – “end of the world, beginning of everything" – becomes recurringtheme in Oregon author Midge Raymond’s new novel, “My Last Continent.”
Part love story, part wild adventure, the book skips forward and back in time through the events leading up to the irresponsible and harrowing wreck of a large cruise ship in the inhospitable, iceberg infested,waters of Antarctica.
Raymond takes on the challenge of writing from the first person point of view of an extreme introvertwith mixed success. The intended story line follows a penguin researcher, Deb, in her rocky romance with fellow Antarctica enthusiast, Keller, which is echoed in the marital breakdown of a tourist couple on board their ship. But the real protagonist of the story is Antarctica itself. It’s in her vivid descriptions of the eerie, isolated beauty of the last continent that Raymond’s book really comes alive. And the scenes elsewhere are dreary and boring in comparison, such as when Deb returns to her off-season job at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
Raymond also spends a fair amount of time on the ecological threats of increased tourism. In one memorable scene, Deb tells a passenger, “There are two kinds of people who come to Antarctica. Those who have run out of places to go, and those who have run out of places to hide.”
In this uneven, yet haunting, story Raymond shows us that – unless we change our ways – our last continent itself may be running out of time.
This is KLCC. I’m Connie Bennett, reviewing “My Last Continent” by Midge Raymond.