Empire Antarctica: Ice, Silence & Emperor Penguins (Paperback)Gavin Francis (author)
* WINNER OF THE SCOTTISH BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2013 *
*Shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Biography Prize*
* Shortlisted for the 2013 RSL Ondaatje Prize *
* Shortlisted for Banff Adventure Travel Prize *
* Shortlisted for Saltire Book of the Year Award *
Gavin Francis fulfilled a lifetime's ambition when he spent fourteen months as the base-camp doctor at Halley, a profoundly isolated British research station on the Caird Coast of Antarctica. So remote, it is said to be easier to evacuate a casualty from the International Space Station than it is to bring someone out of Halley in winter.
Antarctica offered a year of unparalleled silence and solitude, with few distractions and very little human history, but also a rare oppurtunity to live among emperor penguins, the only species truly at home in the Antarctic. Following the penguins throughout the year -- from a summer of perpetual sunshine to months of winter darkness -- Gavin Francis explores a world of great beauty conjured from the simplest elements, the hardship of living at 50 DegreesC below zero and the unexpected comfort that the penguin community bring.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 266 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 20 mm
Empire Antarctica is the embodiment of everything I admire in travel writing -- a great journey, intense isolation, wide reading, vivid writing, scientific research, and something in the nature of an old-fashioned ordeal. That Gavin Francis is a medical doctor, with an important role to play in the darkness and cold at the ends of the earth, is a bonus. I loved this book. -- Paul Theroux
One of the best travel titles I have read in a long time. Thoughtful, lyrical, extremely well written, it's a triumph. -- Giles Foden * Conde Nast Traveller *
A beautiful, profound and highly readable account of a remarkable personal adventure. Francis's pacing is deft, his prose vivid, his research worn lightly. This is probably as close as most of us will ever get to experiencing a modern polar winter. Empire Antarctica is surely destined to become a standard, not so much of travel as of staying very still. -- Ed O'Loughlin * Daily Telegraph *
Francis' best writing (and it is excellent)... is Robert Macfarlane on ice. This writing achieves the 'quilted quality' of silence, and through it we are brought to a new landscape of words. -- Katherine MacInnes * Literary Review *
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