South Pole Station (Hardcover)
Set in the farthest, most remote region of the globe, "South Pole Station" is the story of a collection of quirky scientists, doctors, cooks, construction workers and misfit artists gathered at the South Pole Research Station to study climate change. Anyone who loves the television series "MASH" will enjoy Ashley Shelby's smart, funny and delightful debut novel.
The book's main character, Cooper Gosling, is a 30-year-old artist struggling to cope with a family tragedy and her life's direction. She applies for a National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists & Writers Program fellowship and is accepted, pending a thorough physical and psychological assessment that includes questions like, "Would you rather be a florist or a truck driver?" True or false – "I am in important person."
As Cooper adjusts to life with her fellow "Polies" in a place where the average temperature during the summer is -56.7 degrees. Into the mix of 'Beakers," or brainy scientists, enters a climate denialist whose research is being funded by two congressmen with less than ethical motives. Of course, anarchy ensues as the "real scientists" take action to sabotage his efforts.
I read this book while on a 34-mile backpack trip in the Wyoming wilderness. As I slogged through icy stream crossings or balanced precariously on slippery rocks trying to stay dry, I could not help but wonder why people go to extreme places. Is it to lose themselves, or is it to find themselves?— From Book Reviews: Debut Novels offer heartwarming reading
One of The Millions' Most Anticipated Books of the Year - A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice - Named a Best Book of the Year by Shelf Awareness and One of the Best Environmental Fiction Books of the Year by Earther
DO YOU HAVE DIGESTION PROBLEMS DUE TO STRESS? DO YOU HAVE PROBLEMS WITH AUTHORITY? HOW MANY ALCOHOLIC DRINKS DO YOU CONSUME A WEEK? WOULD YOU RATHER BE A FLORIST OR A TRUCK DRIVER?
These are some of the questions that determine if you have what it takes to survive at South Pole Station, a place with an average temperature of -54 F and no sunlight for six months a year. Cooper Gosling has just answered five hundred of them. Her results indicate she is abnormal enough for Polar life.
Cooper's not sure if this is an achievement, but she knows she has nothing to lose. Unmoored by a recent family tragedy, she's adrift at thirty and--despite her early promise as a painter--on the verge of sinking her career. So she accepts her place in the National Science Foundation's Artists & Writers Program and flees to Antarctica, where she encounters a group of misfits motivated by desires as ambiguous as her own. The only thing the Polies have in common is the conviction that they don't belong anywhere else. Then a fringe scientist arrives, claiming climate change is a hoax. His presence will rattle this already-imbalanced community, bringing Cooper and the Polies to the center of a global controversy and threatening the ancient ice chip they call home.
A warmhearted comedy of errors set in the world's harshest place, Ashley Shelby's South Pole Station is a wry and witty debut novel about the courage it takes to band together when everything around you falls apart.
About the Author
ASHLEY SHELBY is a former editor at Penguin and a prize-winning writer and journalist. She received her MFA from Columbia University and is the author of Red River Rising: The Anatomy of a Flood and the Survival of an American City, a narrative nonfiction account of the record-breaking flood that, in 1997, devastated Grand Forks, North Dakota. The short story that became the basis for South Pole Station is a winner of the Third Coast Fiction Prize. She lives in the Twin Cities with her family.