Author: Midge Raymon
Source: eARC via NetGalley
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 21 June 2016
Rating: 4/5 Stars
It is only at the end of the world—among the glacial mountains, cleaving icebergs, and frigid waters of Antarctica—where Deb Gardner and Keller Sullivan feel at home. For the few blissful weeks they spend each year studying the habits of emperor and Adélie penguins, Deb and Keller can escape the frustrations and sorrows of their separate lives and find solace in their work and in each other. But Antarctica, like their fleeting romance, is tenuous, imperiled by the world to the north.
A new travel and research season has just begun, and Deb and Keller are ready to play tour guide to the passengers on the small expedition ship that ferries them to their research destination. But this year, Keller fails to appear on board. Then, shortly into the journey, Deb’s ship receives an emergency signal from the Australis, a cruise liner that has hit desperate trouble in the ice-choked waters of the Southern Ocean. Soon Deb’s role will change from researcher to rescuer; among the crew of that sinking ship, Deb learns, is Keller.
As Deb and Keller’s troubled histories collide with this catastrophic present, Midge Raymond’s phenomenal novel takes us on a voyage deep into the wonders of the Antarctic and the mysteries of the human heart. My Last Continent is packed with emotional intelligence and high stakes—a harrowing, searching novel of love and loss in one of the most remote places on earth, a land of harsh beauty where even the smallest missteps have tragic consequences
I love getting lost in new settings. I get bored reading the same descriptions of New York, of Los Angeles, of places that I’ve been to before or have seen through the eyes of a thousand different authors. So what originally grabbed me was My Last Continent‘s setting. I had no idea how heartbreaking the novel would be.
The story itself is based on love, but more than just the love between two people as NetGalley’s summary suggests. Deb Gardner finds it difficult to love humans, but has no problem loving and protecting the animals that live in the Antarctic—a place that is quickly becoming more dangerous for animals to live in the more humans use the continent as a tourist destination. As tenuous as Deb’s love of Keller is, so to is the relationship between human and nature.
My Last Continent is a cautionary tale that is surrounded by beautiful writing, thriller aspects, and a heart-breaking love story. It’s a clear look at what damage we’re doing to ourselves when we deny ourselves the things that we want most in life. Raymond also paints a picture of the damage humans are doing to the planet, even to remote areas like the Antarctic. Every decision, from where we work to what we eat, we make has a ripple effect that stretches far beyond what we could ever imagine. Raymond fills in these gaps in our imagination, showing us the real damage in an unflinching way.