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Die Schrecken des Eises und der Finsternis

Pping tale A nameless and largely invisible narrator recounts the 1981 disappearance of one Josef Mazzini whose fascination with a 19th century polar expedition has pulled him north to the furthest arctic settlements Accounts of the two journeys intersect and diverge challenging the notion of history as linear seducing the reader with startlingly detailed descriptions of polar exploration Members of the 19th century expedition pur. The northernmost point of Eurasia is located on Franz Josef Land an archipelago deep in the Arctic Ocean rather oddly named after an emperor of Austria Hungary once a country far to the south of those icy rocks Yet it was arguably Austrian and Italian sailors who first set eyes on this inhospitable place and liberally sprinkled references to their home country across a map which had so far only shown white at the location they found themselves at Ransmayr s The Terrors of Ice and Darkness recounts the ambitions which lured those explorers into the frozen wastes of the north 150 years ago the desire to leave a mark on a map of the world that was rapidly shedding its last white spots the uest for a true challenge when and corners of the globe became easily accessible patriotic glory economic interest a shorter sea route between Europe and Asia seemed a distinct possibility as well as a sober minded search for knowledge Once the expedition is under way the explorers ship enclosed and drifting with the ice wherever it will take them Ransmayr chronicles the hardships the crew suffers in a deadly environment of otherworldly beauty the sailors bonding in the face of cold darkness and despair as well as the tensions flaring up when the prisoners of the ice have to decide how much they are prepared to risk and to what purpose This true story constitutes the main part of the book and Ransmayr peppers his well researched account with uotes from the protagonists own journals it is interwoven with the fictional story of a present day descendant of one of the sailors who retraces his ancestor s voyage to the north profoundly changed by technology and the exploitation of resources his motives for the trip a mystery till the end of his storyThe novel s tone is mostly matter of fact and precise Ransmayr leaves it to his readers to connect the dots and feel awed both by the harsh remoteness of the north and the persistence of the heroes fools who made it their mission to brave the elements as well as push beyond the limits of their bodies and souls following a vision even themselves might not be able to spell out clearly At the end of the day this novel may not be for everyone but surely deserves readers than it has attracted so far Secret Agent Minister and Deadly Texas Rose years ago the desire to leave a mark on a map of the world that was rapidly shedding its last white spots the uest for a true challenge when and corners of the globe became easily accessible patriotic glory economic interest a shorter sea route between Europe and Asia seemed a distinct possibility as well as a sober minded search for knowledge Once the expedition is under way the explorers ship enclosed and drifting with the ice wherever it will take them Ransmayr chronicles the hardships the crew suffers in a deadly environment of otherworldly beauty the sailors bonding in the face of cold darkness and despair as well as the tensions flaring up when the prisoners of the ice have to decide how much they are prepared to risk and to what purpose This true story constitutes the main part of the book and Ransmayr peppers his well researched account with uotes from the protagonists own journals it is interwoven with the fictional story of a present day descendant of one of the sailors who retraces his ancestor s voyage to the north profoundly changed by technology and the exploitation of resources his motives for the trip a mystery till the end of his storyThe novel s tone is mostly matter of fact and precise Ransmayr leaves it to his readers to connect the dots and feel awed both by the harsh remoteness of the north and the persistence of the heroes fools who made it their mission to brave the elements as well as push beyond the limits of their bodies and souls following a vision even themselves might not be able to spell out clearly At the end of the day this novel may not be for everyone but surely deserves readers than it has attracted so far

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Novels with explicitly novelistic themes are often bloodless carrying the fatal odor of the sheltered writing workshop; Austrian writer Ransmayr's first novel however is a stunning exception His second book The Last World was published here last year to critical acclaim The underlying concerns of this work are primarily literary creator vs creation history vs fiction the nature of metaphor etc but here they inform a singularly gri. This novel recounts the real life 1872 74 Imperial Austro Hungarian North Pole Expedition through actual journal and log entries italicized to set them apart They are connected by narration The Expedition discovers and names Franz Josef Land near the North Pole after their emperor The novel describes in excruciating detail all the hardships they undergo being stuck in ice frostbite scurvy running out of food gangrene one seaman falling into a crevasse and his rescue before he freezes to death Payer and Weyprecht the two leaders insist on exploring and naming all the features on Franz Josef Land The weather is warmer than usual the ice breaks up and the intrepid Expedition finally makes its way back to Novaya Zemlya in Russia The Expedition is a success but overshadowed by the polar explorers Amundsen and Peary A century later Josef Mazzini a fictional descendant of one of the men who had been on that expedition is obsessed with retracing the route He disappears and all that is ever found is his notebook The Big Nail the Inuit name for the North Pole and some sled dog harness The unnamed Narrator wants to find out what happened to him The book alternates from the original Expedition to Mazzini back and forth with the Narrator s comments on his own search for the missing man Surrounded by many maps but no answers to the mystery the Narrator finally considers himself a chronicler without an ending I enjoyed all the adventure in this book much of which really happened the Expedition It felt to me like it was written by a latter day Jack London There were fantastic descriptions some exciting some sad and I liked the interplay among the men This was not dry in the least Payer especially wrote almost literary journal entries I liked how the three narratives Expedition Mazzini search for Mazzini interwove Recommended Devoted to Drew year to critical acclaim The underlying concerns of this work are primarily literary creator vs creation history vs fiction the nature of metaphor etc but here they inform a singularly gri. This novel recounts the real life 1872 74 Imperial Austro Hungarian North Pole Expedition through actual journal and log entries italicized to set them apart They are connected by narration The Expedition discovers and names Franz Josef Land near the North Pole after their emperor The novel describes in excruciating detail all the hardships they undergo being stuck in ice frostbite scurvy running out of food gangrene one seaman falling into a crevasse and his rescue before he freezes to death Payer and Weyprecht the two leaders insist on exploring and naming all the features on Franz Josef Land The weather is warmer than usual the ice breaks up and the intrepid Expedition finally makes its way back to Novaya Zemlya in Russia The Expedition is a success but overshadowed by the polar explorers Amundsen and Peary A century later Josef Mazzini a fictional descendant of one of the men who had been on that expedition is obsessed with retracing the route He disappears and all that is ever found is his notebook The Big Nail the Inuit name for the North Pole and some sled dog harness The unnamed Narrator wants to find out what happened to him The book alternates from the original Expedition to Mazzini back and forth with the Narrator s comments on his own search for the missing man Surrounded by many maps but no answers to the mystery the Narrator finally considers himself a chronicler without an ending I enjoyed all the adventure in this book much of which really happened the Expedition It felt to me like it was written by a latter day Jack London There were fantastic descriptions some exciting some sad and I liked the interplay among the men This was not dry in the least Payer especially wrote almost literary journal entries I liked how the three narratives Expedition Mazzini search for Mazzini interwove Recommended

Christoph Ransmayr ï 5 Read

Suing honor glory and other vanities endure two frigid winters when their ship is trapped in ice their beards freeze they are blinded by snow and ill with scurvy but the Bible is read every Sunday A century later men approach the icy expanse with snowmobiles and Walkmen undertaking selfinterested scientific projects This aggressively intelligent narrative transforms the polar regions into unusually fertile ground Publishers Weekly. This is such a strange book Incredibly clever and thought provoking but also rather sad It s definitely a book that needs to be reread to be fully appreciated the structure and Ransmayr s deconstruction of historical truth merit particular attention

  • Paperback
  • 240
  • Die Schrecken des Eises und der Finsternis
  • Christoph Ransmayr
  • English
  • 13 October 2018
  • 9780802134592

About the Author: Christoph Ransmayr

Born in Wels Upper Austria Ransmayr grew up in Roitham near Gmunden and the Traunsee From 1972 to 1978 he studied philosophy and ethnology in Vienna He worked there as cultural editor for the newspaper Extrablatt from 1978 to 1982 also publishing articles and essays in GEO TransAtlantik and Merian After his novel Die letzte Welt was published in 1988 he did extensive traveling in Ireland A



10 thoughts on “Die Schrecken des Eises und der Finsternis

  1. says:

    How much of history is truth and how much of history is myth?This complicated and unanswerable uestion Christoph Ransmayr tries to pose in his highly intellectual and dark The Terrors of Ice and DarknessHow much of

  2. says:

    This novel recounts the real life 1872 74 Imperial Austro Hungarian North Pole Expedition through actual journal and log entries italicized to set them apart They are connected by narration The Expedition discovers and names Franz Josef Land near the North Pole after their emperor The novel describes in excruciating detail all the hardships they undergo being stuck in ice; frostbite; scurvy; running out of food; gangr

  3. says:

    the story of conuest and discovery of a drive within human nature to find what is out there to map to name and to understand whatever that means the emptiness of space as experienced in the 20th century the terrors of ice and darkness have been experienced by explorers a century before in the vastness of the arctic ice the madness to think something would be out there that matters that knowing would make a difference the incred

  4. says:

    Three linked stories of exploration intertwine here as an unidentified narrator researches the disappearance in 1981 of Josef Mazzini whose obsession with the Austrian explorer Julius Von Payer had brought him to the settlement of Longyearbyen

  5. says:

    The northernmost point of Eurasia is located on Franz Josef Land an archipelago deep in the Arctic Ocean rather oddly named after an emperor

  6. says:

    I really liked this book both the narrative structure and the subject matter I'm fascinated by arctic exploration by what it takes to make a life or simply to survive in such inhospitable climes There was a time when I believed that if you had to die if it was your time say freezing to death might not be a bad way to go That was before I read

  7. says:

    whelp the ending was not bad? i still dont know what to think of this actual review gets posted later after we discussed this stuff uni

  8. says:

    This is such a strange book Incredibly clever and thought provoking but also rather sad It's definitely a book that needs to be reread to be fully appreciated; the structure and Ransmayr's deconstruction of historical 'truth' merit particular attention

  9. says:

    The writing is difficult to get to grips with but otherwise a decent read

  10. says:

    Was supposed to read this in grad school for a German romanticism class and I never did but everyone in the class said how great it was Really interesting concept but I think the execution could have been better maybe stuff related to the 1980s guy

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