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My Last Continent: A Novel Hardcover – June 21, 2016
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“[A] meditative romance…. Raymond has shown us a continent worth visiting.” (New York Times Book Review)
“You turn the pages quickly, caught up in the not-of-this-world drama of it all: Despite the heat of the central duo’s connection, this is a world of ice, where warm hearts struggle to thrive. … Raymond shines in capturing a shivery sense of place, in taking us somewhere most of us will never go. … Romantic? Absolutely. Ominous? That, too.” (The Seattle Times)
"A sensitive explorarion of how ever the smallest action can ripple through an ecosystem--seemingly impenetrable, but as fragile as the human heart." (The Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
“At once a high-stakes romance and a cautionary tale about the precariousness of this pristine polar world, Raymond’s masterful debut contemplates the ecological and emotional dangers that lurk within and without uncharted waters.” (Booklist)
"A luminescent, double-layered love story: It's a love story about nature, in which a woman is drawn repeatedly to Antarctica and the vulnerable creatures who make their lives there. And it's a love story about two people who have found in the remote ice the perfect numbing refuge from their pain." (The Oregonian)
About the Author
Midge Raymond is the author of the short story collection Forgetting English, which received the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction, and a novel, My Last Continent. Her work has appeared in Poets & Writers, the Los Angeles Times magazine, TriQuarterly, and Bellevue Literary Review, among other places. Learn more at MidgeRaymond.com.
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It should be noted that Raymond is the co-founder, with her husband John Yunker, of Ashland Creek Press, a five-year-old publishing company whose reputation has been built on Eco-Lit. Knowing this makes it seem absolutely “natural” that her inventive first novel would strive toward this twenty-first century genre that embraces a number of traditional genres as one—love story, literature of witness, travel writing, and nature writing. Indeed, its over-arching ambition is a heightened awareness of our fragile planet.
Inevitably, this alters the experience of the novel writing and reading. Geography predominates. Climate shapes the story. And dialogue tends to feel stilted at times as it veers away from story to serve as a springboard for information that does not always feel necessary. One wonders if a prologue, map, or chart of some kind might have lessened the need to inform the reader so often. On the other hand, if the aim of Eco-Lit is to inform as well as delight as only a novel can do, then readers should approach such works with an active mind as well as imagination.
My Last Continent is fascinating because it not only takes us to the edge of the planet, but to the edge of what many understand as the “territory” of the novel. In pushing boundaries, Raymond reminds us that literature is, actually, meant to reflect the world we inhabit. In 2016, we know our world is fragile. Continents are stressed. And humans have much to learn from deceptively “cute” penguins.