Research Blog Antarctica #16

Non-fiction: Gretchen Legler: On the Ice (Milkweed, 2005)

Does it say something about the point I’ve reached with this Antarctica stuff that I’m now reading lesbian Antarctic literature?

I had some negative preconceptions about this book, but actually it’s quite good. It’s another of those books generated by the American Artists’ and Writers’ Program, whereby an artist or writer gets to spend a half a year residency at Antarctica and tour the U.S. installations there. This time, the result is a book that’s short, light on the historical and general detail, strong on anecdote and human element.

Unusually, the writer spends a great deal of time with her personal love affair, sparked on the ice. Its depicted in a very ethereal, romantic way that ends up working almost despite itself. It could be bad, but its actually quite nice.

Its not a good first Antarctic book because it doesn’t really offer any context and the little it does is badly drawn. However, if you want to know what kind of graffiti may be found in Antarctic toilets, then this is your book. I do.