A great read from NetGalley: I do get round to these eventually as they lie hidden on my Kindle!

A fascinating book about the author’s own fascination with northern, cold places. She starts off as an artist in residence in Greenland, living and working in a museum and ending up trying some painting because she discovers that while painters, sculptors, etc., are asked to leave their work there, writers are asked to take it away! In fact she seems to return to Greenland more than anywhere else, popping back, catching up with people, etc. I love her love of language: she leafs through a dictionary and discusses Greenlandic words almost from the start, and later on talks about the Icelandic neologisms, trying hard to keep their language pure (fartolva for a migrating computer = laptop is a favourite of mine).

She spends time in various libraries and artist-in-residence locations, living quite a nomadic life although she’s seeking to settle by the end of the book. These are interesting places in themselves, adding a lot of depth and background to the narrative.

Of course she goes to Iceland and its glaciers, and that was a stand-out chapter for me, seeing familiar and not so familiar places through her eyes. She also spends time with a composer who records ice melting and creates compositions from it, among other people from reindeer herders to dog sledders trying to adapt to modern tourism. She’s lyrical on the ice cores scientists create (once they planted flag poles; now they bore through the ice for samples) and there’s much more to it than environmental concern, although that’s there, too, as it should be.

An original and unusual read which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for making it available and selecting me to receive a copy in return for an honest review.

Next time: Book Confessions! Oh no! Or … hooray!