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AfterlandsIn nineteen men women and children voyaging on the Arctic explorer USS Polaris found themselves cast adrift on an ice floe as their ship began to founder Based on one of the most remarkable events in polar history Afterlands tells the haunting story of this small society of castaways a w. Displaced PersonsThe book opens with a simple image of surprising potency a piano recital in Connecticut in 1876 at which a ten year old girl plays some pieces by Mendelssohn The girl known as Punnie is the daughter of an Inuit couple here called Esuimaux in nineteenth century fashion who have been taken to England as curiosities presented to ueen Victoria and most recently brought back to the Arctic as members of a near fatal expedition in which a group of nineteen starving people marooned on an ice floe drifted for six and a half months before being rescued The de facto leader of that group Lt George Tyson has written a book about their ordeal and is popular as a lecturer Punnie is thus a local celebrity but the skills which the audience applauds are not those of her native culture The theme of displacement sounds throughout Steven Heighton's magnificent book as a powerful undertowMuch of the novel is based on fact In the central section a 200 page description of the ordeal on the ice Heighton uotes long excerpts from Tyson's actual book But his main focus is on another character a German immigrant named Roland Kruger who served as second mate on the expedition Once a minor celebrity also Kruger becomes a pariah after the publication of Tyson's book which portrays him as the villain of the piece stealing from their precious stores fomenting the men to near mutiny and having inappropriate relations with Tukulito Punnie's mother But by skillfully contrasting excerpts from Tyson's journals with his published account and setting both against his own storytelling Heighton creates a shifting texture of overlapping narratives in which sympathies will change and change againThough led by an American the expedition is peopled by expatriates four Germans a German Russian an Englishman a Swede a Dane a Negro cook four adult Esuimaux and several children It is chilling to see how once the normal lines of authority break down the men revert to their former nationalism dominated by the German contingent though not including Kruger and rehearsing the history of the next seventy years in miniature But eventually conditions on the rapidly shrinking ice floe take precedence over everything and the moral lines shift again in the light of several striking acts of individual heroismDespite Heighton's excellent powers of description this middle part can be tough going But the most original part of the book is its extended final section Afterlands which traces the later story of Tyson Tukulito and especially Kruger who moves as far away from the Arctic as possible to live among the Sina Indians in the Western Sierra Madre of Mexico Here the theme of displacement takes on a different meaning as he himself an emigrant from two countries in succession encounters a kind of ethnic cleansing as forces loyal to the central government or commercial interests attempt to exterminate the indigenous people from their lands Kruger will find reserves of moral heroism that he did not know he had and reach a kind of personal redemption The ending of the book is as satisfying as it is sadThough written earlier Afterlands has many similarities to Richard Flanagan's Wanting which also links a story about arctic exploration to another about an aboriginal girl in this case Tasmanian brought to London as a curiosity I have long recognized the theme of displacement as a major concern in Australian literature—both the displacement of the emigrants making a start in a new land and the tragedy of the native inhabitants whom they displaced—so it is not surprising to see it in Canadian writing as well It gives the literature of both countries a profound moral sensibility I am also in awe of the many Canadian novelists who are also poets—Michael Ondaatje Anne Michaels and Jane Uruhart also come to mind—and who not only write beautiful prose but find in poetic structures new ways to organize a novel This book by Steven Heighton is as allusive and thought provoking as they come See my review of Heighton's recent poetry collection The Waking Comes Late

Steven Heighton ½ 6 Read

Hite and a black American five Germans a Dane a Swede an Englishman and two Inuit families and the harrowing six months they spend marooned in the Arctic struggling to survive both the harsh elements and one another As the group splinters into factions along ethnic and national lines riv. This is the first book I've read as a result of a Goodreads recommendation and I liked it In the 1860s 19 people were trapped on an iceberg in the North Atlantic for an entire winter with very little food and few supplies The group included two Inuit families German immigrants and a black man About half of the book took place in the Arctic and the rest took place in the US and Mexico after they survived their ordeal It described interestingly what happens to people who are confined together in a small space with few resources and I was also interested in how the book described the human desire for power

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Read & download ¼ Afterlands ï PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB Ö [PDF / Epub] ✅ Afterlands Author Steven Heighton – In 1871 nineteen men women and children voyaging on the Arctic explorer USS Polaris found themselves cast adrift on an ice floe as their ship began to founder Based on Alries complicated by sexual desire unreuited love extreme hunger and suspicion begin to turn violent Steven Heighton's provocative novel fills in the blanks of the Polaris's documented history and explores the shattering emotional and psychological conseuences faced by those who survive. This book is well written and easy to read I stumbled accross this historical incident when reading In the Kingdom of Ice The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette I was very curious that I had never read about this curious incident before I really enjoyed the first half od the book The author did well bringing the whole situation to life and creating historical characters based on the available information One thing I did not like was the parts of the second half that were totally made up I figure the author could have just saved 80 pages not writing a fictional account of Kruger in Mexico instead of just making stuff up All in all I enjoyed reading the book