Read The Terrors of Ice and Darkness by Christoph Ransmayr John E. Woods Online


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.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 gripping 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, pursuing 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...

Title : The Terrors of Ice and Darkness
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780802134592
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Terrors of Ice and Darkness Reviews

  • Vit Babenco
    2019-03-18 06:47

    How much of history is truth and how much of history is myth?This complicated and unanswerable question Christoph Ransmayr tries to pose in his highly intellectual and dark The Terrors of Ice and Darkness.How much of an explorer’s journey is the new discoveries and how much of it is just imagination.“At first it was nothing more than a game to try to reduce the circumstances of his disappearance to some sort of explanation, any explanation. But every clue yielded a new unanswered question. Quite involuntarily I found myself taking one step after the other… Cumulus clouds mirrored in a shop window became calving glaciers, patches of old snow in city parks became great floes of ice. The Arctic Ocean lay at my window. Much the same thing must have happened to Mazzini.”How much of human life is reality and how much of it is metaphor? Some lives are just poorly realistic and some are purely metaphoric.

  • Jane
    2019-03-07 05:35

    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.

  • Schopfi
    2019-02-23 10:50

    the story of conquest 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 incredible heroism and the laughable pathos, converging in a vanishing point at a horizon of hope and hopelessness. these are only some of the topics of this novel, which is following the austro-hungarian north pole expedition of 1872-1874. during which the last landmass on earth, kaiser franz josef land, was discovered. nothing is there. not then or now. and still somebody hat to go and see for themselves. a chilling (pun definitely intended) read. awesome.

  • Lukas
    2019-03-17 07:45

    In der Form perfekt, in Sachen Inhalt immer konsistent und flüssig. Ein Buch das fast erschreckend lückenlos durchkomponiert und packend ist. Erzählt auf ungewöhnliche Weise von einem ungewöhnlichen Thema.

  • Laura
    2019-03-12 10:24

    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 this book. Brrrr.

  • Vanessa
    2019-02-22 09:48

    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

  • Ale.andreotti
    2019-02-21 06:41

    Appassionante racconto di due avventure folli, occorse a distanza di un secolo: la prima è la celebre epopea della spedizione polare austrungarica del 1872-1874, a bordo della Admiral Tegetthoff, che portò alla scoperta della Terra di Francesco Giuseppe; la seconda è la vicenda di Josef Mazzini, lontano discendente di uno dei marinai della spedizione, che si propose di riviverne le avventure. La prosa dell'autore è piuttosto efficace sia nel farci rivivivere il dramma vissuto dai protagonisti della prima spedizione (due inverni artici con la nave bloccata dai ghiacci, sofferenze indicibili, il ritorno drammatico verso l'arcipelago di Novaja Zemlja dopo l'abbandono della nave), che i demoni nella mente di Mazzini.

  • Martin John
    2019-02-21 11:25

    The author, working from logbooks and crew member journals and relying on his imagination to fill in the gaps, creates this essentially non-fictional account of the scientifically somewhat pointless discovery of an arctic archipelago and the human suffering involved in this venture. It is well worth a read, and though the interwoven story of a modern-day (well, 1980s actually) Arctic voyage sometimes depresses a little, what with tongue-tied, beer-swilling miners and oceanographers, I enjoyed the stark contrast in mood between the ages. Best enjoyed on a cold winter's day. Happy armchair voyaging!

  • Juliane
    2019-02-23 13:41

    I didn't knew that this book would fascinate me so much. It's a wonderful novel about two arctic expeditions. The first one in 1872 under direction of Weyprecht and Payer, which is based on real diary entries, the logbook and other writings, completed by Ransmeyer with fictional and philosophical elements. Hundred years later the Italian Mazzini is following Weyprechts and Payers traces. Ransmeyer is amalgamating fiction and history, which he is doing in an excellent way.While reading this amazing story you really can feel the frosty atmosphere. The fascination of the Polar Arctic Sea which has claimed so many lives is described very naturalistic and captivating. Really loved this book.

  • Hilary
    2019-03-19 09:41

    I had to read this for my migration literature class. This book tells the stories of two different arctic expeditions. On one path, we follow the Weyprecht-Payer expedition that lead to the discovery of Franz Josef Land. On the other, we follow the fictional journey of an Italian man named Mazzini who follows the footsteps of the Weyprecht expedition. Both expeditions differ in goals; Weyprecht desires scientific discovery while Mazzini desires self discovery. The way in which the two stories connect is what makes it a good read.

  • Logan
    2019-03-20 08:40

    Dreadfully stupid and boring. It tries to make up for its dullness with plenty of technical and descriptive language, which is not something a non-native reader appreciates. The less time I have to devote to a dictionary, the better. Entire passages could have been cut without affecting the story in the least. The book only tells a story. It says nothing else. I'm confident it would be the same if I was a native German speaker. I got the general idea.

  • Susu
    2019-03-23 08:30

    Ob das die richtige Lektüre für den Winter ist? Ransmayr erzählt die Geschichte der österreichisch-ungarischen Polarexpedition, die das Franz-Joseph-Land entdeckt hat - verknüpft mit der fiktiven Geschichte eines "Fans", der auf den Spuren der Polarforscher im hohen Norden verschütt geht. Lässt sich schnittig lesen - Beschreibungen von Polarnächten inklusive.

  • Bryan Alexander
    2019-03-23 07:30

    Excellent historical novel about a nineteenth-century polar expedition. Fine use of primary sources (quotes, art). Vivid descriptions of Arctic landscapes, personal suffering.A modern story counterpoints the expedition narrative, and is interesting for a while. A young man in the 20th century obsesses over the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition, follows its tracks, then disappears.

  • Zelony
    2019-03-10 12:44

    This is a beautiful account of the Payer-Weyprecht Imperial Austro-Hungarian polar expedition that hovers between novel and biography. It is detailed tribute to the heroic age of polar exploration and illuminates both the convenience and loss of spirit brought about by late 20th century technological progress.

  • Schwall
    2019-03-07 07:22

    Ein hervorragendes und kurzweiliges Lesevergnügen für jeden, der sich für Abenteuer und Entdeckungen begeistern kann. Ransmayr kompiliert die Tage- und Logbuchaufzeichnungen der Österreichisch-Ungarischen Nordpolarexpedition 1872-1874 mit den Erlebnissen eines jungen Mannes, der sich mehr als einhundert Jahre später auf die Spuren derselben begibt.

  • Stephan Frank
    2019-03-03 13:28

    Awesome. For a fan of fiction AND especially the Artic (+Antarctic) Explorers an easily likable book. The whole structure (a story inside a story following a historic event) is a bit complicated and constructed, but does not deter too much from the characterisation of the characters and the influence of the isolation in the ice on their psyche.

  • Catherine
    2019-03-17 05:32

    I like and don't like this writer...There's something about the way he tells a story that I find boring, but his ideas and structures are so interesting that I soldier on. The historical half of this story was amazing and became very real to me.

  • Beau
    2019-03-01 07:37

    Another great novel by Ransmayr. I loved the use of letters and diaries as part of the narrative, as well as the multilevel narrative of obsession--an obsessed journalist narrating the obsessions of Arctic explorers. Fascinating read!

  • Elisabeth Schinagl
    2019-02-20 08:34

    Eine österreichisch-ungarische Nordpolexpedition - ja, gab´s denn so was? Ja. 1872. Christoph Ransmayr erzählt diese abenteuerliche Reise ans Ende der Welt in seinem Roman. Nicht ganz einfach zu lesen, langwierig wie die Expedition selbst, schwermütig und doch ungemein fesselnd.

  • Cinematic Frankenstein
    2019-02-25 11:27

    In spite of the lack of time in my life it was a great story about travels, brave people and destiny. Have you ever read it? There are a lot of lands, Norway, Arctic, some famous travelers and sailors. If your soul is close to the movement, it's worth reading!

  • feistchen
    2019-03-02 07:49

    sehr schönes Spiel mit verschiedenen Formen der Erzählinstanz und Erzählebenen

  • Chris
    2019-03-22 13:34