Raymond's story of a scientist who falls in love with the South Pole and the penguins she studies there is so well researched, it almost reads like nonfiction at times. Combining serious study of climate change, the effect it has on animal life, high-seas adventure, the minute-to-minute changing dangers of water and ice, shipwreck, survival in a hostile climate, with a bit of romance thrown in, Raymond delivers an engaging story with a terrific, bittersweet ending. Throughout her narrative is the constant questions of home: What constitutes home? When are we most at home? Can we make a home if ours is broken?
The South Pole is a major character in this book, and Raymond is in fine form. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
An unforgettable debut with an irresistible love story, My Last Continent is a big-hearted, propulsive novel set against the dramatic Antarctic landscape
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—"Half adventure, half elegy, and wholly recommended" (Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves).
"My Last Continent is an original and entirely authentic love story. It is a love triangle with Antarctica as the third party, literally and metaphorically. Midge Raymond takes us, physically and emotionally, into an unfamiliar world—a world that has much to teach us. She deftly interweaves a compelling drama with a gentle and subtle love story. It's a mature novel, one that recognizes that love is seldom simple or exclusive, and that the things that bring us together can also keep us apart."
Graeme Simsion, bestselling author of The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect
"There is a romance about faraway, desperate places, about isolation, about ice and snow. Add penguins and you have Midge Raymond’s elegant My Last Continent, a love story about the Antarctic and the creatures, humans included, who are at home there. Half adventure, half elegy, and wholly recommended." Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
"An atmospheric tale of love discovered, and losses endured, in Antarctica. … The unpredictability of the splendors and terrors of life at the southern pole creates a backdrop of foreboding entirely appropriate for the story's cinematic resolution [and] the authentic rendering of the setting distinguishes Raymond's novel from other stories of love in perilous times and places." Kirkus Reviews
"My Last Continent feels refreshingly different, vivid and immediate. Midge Raymond has an extraordinary gift for description that puts the reader bang in the middle of the action, bang in the middle of its dangerous and endangered world. Her clean, spare prose pulls us irresistibly into the story and the wider issues it raises. She is clearly a writer in command of her craft." M.L. Stedman, New York Times bestselling author of The Light Between Oceans
About the Author
Midge Raymond's short-story collection, Forgetting English, received the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. Her writing has appeared in TriQuarterly, American Literary Review, Bellevue Literary Review, the Los Angeles Times magazine, Poets & Writers, and many other publications. Her debut novel, My Last Continent, is forthcoming from Scribner.
Midge worked in publishing in New York before moving to Boston, where she taught communication writing at Boston University for six years. She has taught creative writing at Boston's Grub Street Writers, Seattle's Richard Hugo House, and San Diego Writers, Ink. She has also published two books for writers, Everyday Writing and Everyday Book Marketing.
Midge lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is co-founder of the boutique publisher Ashland Creek Press.