Friday, August 31, 2012

The Solitude of Thomas Cave | Georgina Harding

I've always enjoyed stories of Polar exploration, both fiction and non-fiction. I think it's because incredible journeys have been undertaken which put men under such duress, they all seem a bit surreal. The true stories are often more unbelievable than the fictitious ones.

This story I loved. Told in a very precise and economical style, beautiful language and haunting imagery. Thomas Cave on a dare is left behind in the Far North to winter over on his own. He seems well equipped in all respects to survive the winter  but he is a melancholic man and there are hints of a tragedy in his past. He is a strong but flawed man and there is intrigue there in terms of his past and his ability to deal with it in order to survive the winter.

As the night descends on Cave, we are drawn into the psychological nightmare of the loneliness, the darkness and the mental strength required to survive. He hunts and comes into close contact with polar bears  who seem to become a totem animal to him.
The story also explores life after the ordeal and how Cave lived out his days totally colored by the Polar Night he experienced.

It was engrossing and beautifully written.

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