In this unforgettable debut novel Clare Dudman has imaginatively re-created the life of the German scientist Alfred Wegener, whose theory of continental drift—derided by his contemporaries—would eventually revolutionize our perception of the world. Wegener’s irresistible urge to discover the unknown takes him from the horrors of World War I’s trenches to several lengthy expeditions across the unexplored ice of Greenland, an extraordinary quest that—with the support of a remarkable woman—gives birth to a powerful idea worth fighting for. Distinguished by its evocation of the unforgiving beauty of the Arctic, this stunningly written tale of obsession and courage will thrill readers of scientific history and the best adventure writing.
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Clare Dudman was born in North Wales and has worked as an industrial research and development scientist.From Publishers Weekly:
In British author Dudman's stunning first adult novel, she reveals the poetry of science, interweaving a deep character study of German meteorologist Alfred Wegener (1880–1930) with scenes of pulse-pounding Arctic adventure. Today, Wegener's theory of continental drift, with some refinements, is accepted as scientific truth. During his time, however, Wegener was seen as an eccentric failure. Dudman allows Wegener to tell his own story in first-person present tense. This approach utterly immerses the reader in a sensual, detail-rich world. Dudman's prose is luminous, as in Wegener's reverie over the pages of a rare old book: "I too am adding parts of myself to the pages: oils are leaking from the skin of my hands and molecules of fat are smearing themselves invisibly on its surface." Dudman also displays an astute gift for characterization. Wegener's complex relationship with his brother Kurt and his love for his wife, Else, as measured against his lust for meteorological expeditions, is expertly, often heartbreakingly portrayed. As the story leads inexorably toward Wegener's demise in the frozen tundra of Greenland, Dudman's control over her material becomes even more masterful. The emotional yet understated final scenes are particularly fine. Above all, Dudman shows us one incontrovertible truth about her Wegener: he loved the world, in all of its riotous complexity. Some may say the same of Dudman after reading this wise, beautiful novel.
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Book Description Penguin Books, 2005. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110143034731