Christoph Ransmayr: Die Schrecken des Eises und der Finsternis (The Terrors of Ice and Darkness)

The latest addition to my website is Christoph Ransmayr‘s Die Schrecken des Eises und der Finsternis (The Terrors of Ice and Darkness). The book is about Arctic exploration and tells the story of several actual historical expeditions, including, in particular, the Austro-Hungarian North Pole expedition. It also recounts the story of the fictitious half-Austrian, half-Italian, Josef Mazzini who is determined to follow in the footsteps of the Austro-Hungarian North Pole expedition in the contemporary period. We know from the beginning of the book that he does not succeed while the Austro-Hungarian North Pole expedition does. I found the stories of the historical expeditions – others are recounted in less detail – more interesting than Mazzini’s story, even if his obsession, which matches that of the leaders of the previous ones, is interesting. Incidentally, Ransmayr is not the only German-speaking novelist to write about the Arctic. Sten Nadolny‘s Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit (The Discovery of Slowness) is about the Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin.

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