Research Blog Antarctica #54 – White


Fiction: Marie Darrieussecq: White (Faber & Faber, 2006)

One of the rare Antarctic novels I’ve read that’s proper, high-brow literature and not a genre excercise. It’s a slim, compact novel, a simple love story with a very effective, stream-of-consciousness voice. It’s about the weight of the past and deals with memories in a highly evocative way. For the most part, you get a highly evocative feel of Antarctica as a place, but the illusion wobbles in the end.

White is set in the future and is about Peter and Edmée, two international citizens who come to work on a pan-European research station. Sometimes the book feels well researched, as when Darrieussecq is writing about Scott or meteorites, but other times not, as with the role of women in Antarctica, or with the heating arrangements. The end result is beautiful but sloppy.

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