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Afterlands: A Novel

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Leane, E (2007) Afterlands: A Novel. Polar Record: A Journal of Arctic and Antarctic Research, 43 (4). pp. 374-375. ISSN 0032-2474

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Abstract

Polar exploration narratives have inspired their fair share
of novels, poems, and plays, particularly in the last
few decades. The ‘race’ for the South Pole alone has
generated an ongoing series of historical novels that
blend documented event with creative extrapolation —
NorwegianKareHolt’s Kappløpet, translated into English
as The race (1976), and Beryl Bainbridge’s Birthday
boys (1991) are among the best known. These narratives
explore contrasting, sometimes conflicting, interpretations
of events, moving between different characters and
points of view. By taking this approach, creative writers
can short-circuit ongoing factual debates, highlighting
possible subtexts behind official accounts, imagining the
internal thoughts of key players, or providing the voice
of marginalised or silenced participants. Even ships’ cats
can have a revealing perspective on events, as Caroline
Alexander so winningly demonstrated in Mrs Chippy’s
last expedition (1997). Steven Heighton’s Afterlands is
one of the most recent, and certainly one of the finest,
contributions to the rapidly growing genre of the polar
historical novel.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Polar Record: A Journal of Arctic and Antarctic Research
Page Range: pp. 374-375
ISSN: 0032-2474
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1017/S0032247407006845
Additional Information:

Copyright 2007 Cambridge University Press

Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2008 16:02
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2013 01:01
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