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A new book from David Grann about a polar journey gone wrong: The White Darkness

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 24, 2018

Author and New Yorker writer David Grann is out with a new book in the fall: The White Darkness. The book tells the story of polar explorer Henry Worsley, who attempted to duplicate the polar voyages of Ernest Shackleton, and is based on a long NYer piece written by Grann earlier this year.

Henry Wolsey

The man felt like a speck in the frozen nothingness. Every direction he turned, he could see ice stretching to the edge of the Earth: white ice and blue ice, glacial-ice tongues and ice wedges. There were no living creatures in sight. Not a bear or even a bird. Nothing but him.

It was hard to breathe, and each time he exhaled the moisture froze on his face: a chandelier of crystals hung from his beard; his eyebrows were encased like preserved specimens; his eyelashes cracked when he blinked. Get wet and you die, he often reminded himself. The temperature was nearly minus forty degrees Fahrenheit, and it felt far colder because of the wind, which sometimes whipped icy particles into a blinding cloud, making him so disoriented that he toppled over, his bones rattling against the ground.

The story has also been optioned for a movie, joining Grann’s previous book, Killers of the Flower Moon, which is being adapted by Martin Scorsese & Leonardo DiCaprio.