August 21, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

Skating to Antarctica

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jenny Diski
genre
Travel, Memoir
We gave it an A

The English author’s harrowing childhood fuels this soaring fusion of personal memoir and travelogue about an Antarctic cruise. On a quest for ”a place of safety, a white oblivion,” Diski explores the world’s most pristine environment from an oceanographic-research vessel but interweaves her hilarious riffs on a suggestively schnozzed elephant seal and the barren landscape with calm confessions of how she severed ties with the mother who sexually abused her as a child. As she discovers that icebergs aren’t white but ”the colour of David Hockney swimming pools,” she faces her mother’s sad fate, making Skating‘s internal journey as bracing and wild as any polar adventure. A

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