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My Last Continent

My Last Continent 2

by Midge Raymond

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 27/06/2016

4/5 Rating 2 Reviews
RRP  $29.99 $27.95

It is only at the end of the world among the glacier mountains and frigid waters of Antarctica where Deb Gardner and Keller Sullivan feel at home.

For the few blissful weeks they spend each year studying the habits of penguins, Deb and Keller can escape the frustrations and sorrows of their separate lives and find solace in each other. But Antarctica, like their fleeting romance, is tenuous, imperiled by the world to the north. A new travel and research season has just begun, and Deb and Keller are ready to play tour guide to the passengers on the small expedition ship that ferries them to their research destination.

Except that this year, Keller fails to appear on board. Shortly into the trip, Deb's ship receives an emergency signal from the Australis, a cruise liner that has hit desperate trouble in the ice-choked waters. And among the crew of the sinking ship is Keller... As Deb and Keller's troubled histories collide with this catastrophic present, Deb's role turns from researcher to rescuer all too aware that in this land of harsh beauty even the smallest missteps can have tragic consequences.

'Half adventure, half elegy, and wholly recommended.' - Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

'Refreshingly different, vivid and immediate. Midge Raymond has an extraordinary gift fordescription that puts the reader bang in the middle of the action, bang in the middle of it dangerous and endangered world. Her clean, sparse prose pulls us irresistibly into the story and the wider issues it raises. She is clearly a writer in command of her craft.' - M. L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans

'An original and entirely authentic love story...It recognises that love is seldom simple or exclusive, and that the things that bring us together can also keep us apart.' Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project

Contemporary fiction
Paperback / softback
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The Text Publishing Company
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Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond's short-story collection, Forgetting English, received the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. Her stories have appeared in TriQuarterly, American Literary Review, Indiana Review, North American Review, Bellevue Literary Review, the Los Angeles Times magazine, and many other publications.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Fantastic new voice in fiction

    by on

    My Last Continent is a truly unique work of fiction. Vivid in its realism, the story transports the reader to the end of the Earth on a journey toward tragedy on frozen seas.

    The strength of Deb’s voice is immense and the first-person account helps capture isolation and urgency in this tale, shifting frequently in time and place but remaining fixed in its immediacy. There’s an incredible depth of research that has gone into this book making it an education for the reader.

    Tidy, eloquent and moving to the last sentence, My Last Continent is a wonderful book to be experienced and one we’re proud to call our Book of the Month.

  • a moving and thought-provoking story

    by on

    “The tent is tight and cramped, not unlike our individual sleeping quarters on the Cormorant – but now, rather than the hum of the ship, we hear the sounds of penguins and waves lapping the bay; rather than the dry heated air, the night is alive with a gelid summer mist”

    My Last Continent is the first novel by American author, Midge Raymond. Deb Gardner is a naturalist who studies penguins. Some thirteen years after she first went to Antarctica as part of the Antarctic Penguin Project, she is witness to a terrible shipwreck, the effects of which are far-reaching in her own life.

    Antarctica may seem like an unlikely place to fall in love, but when ex-lawyer Keller Sullivan turns up as a kitchen hand, his genuine interest in the penguins that Deb is studying gets under her usual defences. Eventually, they are partners in the research project. But, just like their sea voyages on the Cormorant to the frozen continent, all is not smooth sailing in their love affair.

    Deb’s first person narrative alternates between the immediate time before the shipwreck, after the shipwreck and many years before the shipwreck, exploring how she came to be an Antarctic researcher and her relationship with Keller, as well as describing the shipwreck and the immediate aftermath.

    Raymond manages to incorporate within her story a wealth of information about penguins and their behaviour, the polar landscape, the effects of tourism, and research practices, and does so in a way that makes it interesting and easily assimilated. Her plot is original; her characters are realistic, if a bit quirky, and all the more appealing for their flaws; her descriptive prose is highly evocative: the cold and danger are almost palpable, while the stark beauty of the landscape comes effortlessly to mind.

    “…the silence fills my mind like water in a jar – the world goes smooth and clear, with nothing but the whisk of wind around the ice, the splash of a penguin entering the water, the gurgle of waves against the ice. We float along the edge of an iced city, the bergs rising out of the water like skyscrapers. The sea has arched doorways into the sides; the wind has chipped out windows. In the distance, several conical formations tower over the bay, with deep crevasses in their sides, as if enormous claws have slashed through them, drawing blue light instead of blood”

    Raymond’s debut novel is a moving and thought-provoking story of love and loss, of beauty and danger, of joy and tragedy. It is filled with gorgeous prose, with emotion, and with interesting facts. With this novel, Midge Raymond proves herself a talented author whose further works will be eagerly anticipated.
    4.5 stars