As if everything in the world is the history of ice. ------Michael Ondaatje (Coming Through Slaughter)
At a quarter past three in the afternoon, on August 17, 1898, Doctor Edward Byrne slipped on the ice of Arcturus glacier in the Canadian Rockies and slid into a crevasse.
I'll be a ghost to her. A lesser shade, haunting some room in her memory she hardly ever enters.
Glaciologist. I'd never heard the word before. . . . I thought he was the one man on earth who bothered that much with the, that this science was his alone, that he had invented it. Arcturology. The science of being distant, and receding a little every year.
The terminus of the glacier is an instructive place. Ceaselessly changing, and yet always the same, like the seashore. Ice streams becoming rivers, mountains wearing down into valleys. The transition zone between two worlds.
But ice floats, he thought at the time. Where did it go?
I want to show you something rather extraordinary.
This first novel begins with an imaginative and ingenious premise: a physician trekking across the Arcturus Glacier in the Canadian Rockies in 1898 slips and tumbles into a crevasse, where he beholds a winged human figure. The rest of the book tells of Dr. Edward Byrne's efforts to get to the bottom of the mystery in the ice. Along the way, he encounters a series of eccentrics, each involved in their own quest: the explorer Freya; the industrialist Trask; the poet Hal; and the slightly mad Elspeth, Byrne's lover. Told through scientific notes, journal entries, letters, and dialogue, this historical tale of the incalculable encountered in the mountains marks a promising debut.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:13 -0400)
Leaving England for Canada in 1898, Doctor Edward Byrne has no idea that the glacier he has set out to study will come to absorb his every thought. When he arrives in Jasper, he finds himself attracted to then mysterious presence of the big white chunk. His religious appreciation of its movement keeps him in town much longer than anticipated, living out a symbiotic relationship with a block of ice.… (more)