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The Explorer's Daughter: A Young Englishwoman Rediscovers Her Arctic Childhood [Hardcover]

Kari Herbert
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Review

‘Herbert applies a photographer’s eye and an eloquent pen to the beauty of the Arctic landscape’ -- Daily Telegraph, December 14, 2004

‘It is an impressive book, slow-cooked and richly imagined.’ -- The Independent, November 15, 2004

‘[Kari Herbert] paints a vivid portrait… a visceral emotion sets it apart from the standard anthropological tract.’ -- Literary Review, November 1, 2004

‘utterly compelling' -- Geographical Magazine, December 2004

‘…compelling and instructive. Kari Herbert’s descriptions are frequently lyrical, tersely poetic, never maudlin... an accessible delight.’ -- Scotland on Sunday, November 28, 2004

From the Inside Flap

I was greeted at the summer camp by the smell of death and the gruesome aftermath of a massacre. The scent of the hunt hung heavy and warm on the bitter wind. Two narwhal had been caught and were semi-dissected on the beach. The air was shattered with the shrieks of birds fighting over floating chunks of blubber and fat, and sculptures of meat-clothed vertebrae created a macabre outdoor exhibition. Streams of blood seeped into the crimson-stained waters of the fjord. Beyond the gore, a couple of tiny boxes no bigger than garden sheds stood apologetically on the beach, with the smaller of the two pinioned to the ground with guy ropes to prevent it from scurrying away. This was to be our home.

About the Author

Kari Herbert was born in 1970. She is a travel writer and photographer and has contributed to several British newspapers and magazines including the Sunday Times, the Independent and the Observer and has had two solo exhibitions of her photography. She is currently at work on her next book, The Heart of the Hero: The Women Behind Polar Explorers. She lives in London.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I still remember the sound of the wind shrieking through the ventilation trap. The baying ghosts of the Arctic storm were running riot, and I stood transfixed in the flimsy hut, clutching the side of my wooden cot. To my left the squat dark oil stove whispered and sputtered to itself. Packing crates, strange one-eyed film cameras, leggy tripods, harpoons and throws of fur seemed to shift in the uneasy light; a window protested at the force of Sila ~ that overpowering High Arctic spirit of weather and nature ~ that searched for a weak spot to enter our warm sanctuary, the glass bending as it valiantly held sentry. Close by the dark figures of my parents lay on their platform bed, limbs casually entangled in sleep. The storm hadn’t blown into their dreams.

I was too young to notice that this was my initiation into the life of the wilderness. Perhaps it was innocence that prevented me from crying out with a child’s fear of the unknown, but I like to think that, even then, I felt I belonged in that harsh and untamed place.

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