My Last Continent
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