My Last Con­ti­nent

The Sun (Malaysia) - - THE RIGHT READ -

Au­thor: Midge Ray­mond Pub­lisher: Si­mon & Schus­ter ISBN: 9781501124709

THIS is not so much a love story be­tween the two lead char­ac­ters as a tes­ta­ment to their shared pas­sion for the pen­guins they are study­ing in a bru­tal and un­for­giv­ing arc­tic land­scape.

Nar­ra­tor Deb Gard­ner, a post-doc­toral re­searcher, is shep­herd­ing a bunch of en­vi­ron­men­tal tourists around a pen­guin colony, ex­as­per­ated by their lack of in­ter­est in the re­mark­able crea­tures she has spent half a life­time try­ing to pro­tect. In­stead, all the tourists want to know is about the sink­ing of the cruise ship Aus­tralis, which went down nearby, killing 715 pas­sen­gers and crew.

The rest of the book is struc­tured with chap­ter head­ings that count down to this ap­palling catas­tro­phe – in­ter­spersed with Deb’s back­story of a doughty, in­de­pen­dent trav­eller, well suited to the glacial vis­tas where she spends much of her time.

No one is more sur­prised than Deb when her heart is thawed by charm­ing rogue Keller Sul­li­van. Au­thor Ray­mond wears her green cre­den­tials lightly but you share her frus­tra­tion as shown in the dilemma that Deb and Keller face – that in or­der to pre­serve, they must also, to an ex­tent, pol­lute. Both are obliged to take jobs on the tourist flotilla that makes its money from fer­ry­ing wealthy tourists to these en­dan­gered habi­tats.

It is a com­pletely ab­sorb­ing and sober­ing tale. The book will also leaves you with a far greater ap­pre­ci­a­tion of a sear­ingly beau­ti­ful world, whose fate we are squan­der­ing so ca­su­ally. – The In­de­pen­dent

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