A Woman in the Polar Night

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A Woman in the Polar Night

A Woman in the Polar Night

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The savage magnificence of the landscape carries the book for me, but the interactions between Ritter (an Austrian artist), her husband and a young Norwegian adventurer, are cheerful and sincere, and also a highlight. In 1934, the painter Christiane Ritter leaves her comfortable home for a year with her husband on the Arctic island of Spitsbergen. Christane paints a beautiful picture of her time in the Arctic, a journal you'll easily think is fiction, briliantly written. Published in 1938, ‘A Woman in the Polar Night’ by Christiane Ritter based on the author’s experiences in the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen is considered a cult classic with the original German book translated into over seven languages, never going out of print over the years. This rediscovered classic memoir tells the incredible tale of a woman defying society's expectations to find freedom and peace in the adventure of a lifetime.

In December in the dead of darkness, the mist lifts and the full moon rises to illuminate a surreal black and white vista. So there’s hunting to make sure they have food, and trapping to get furs to sell to keep themselves going, and that’s not going to appeal to everyone – it didn’t appeal to me, of course, but I was able to read it as part of a particular – very particular – situation in which it is understandable. Unter anderem – wer weiß es, dass der Mensch in der totalen Einsamkeit, wo die Anregungen und der Widerhall durch den Mitmenschen fehlt, schließlich an das Ende des eigenen Ichs gerät? It is a weird thought – the closest I’ve been is Iceland in early Feb, when the sun just came up a bit for a few hours, but not much at all.Like “ The Museum of Whales …“, I bought this last summer, using lovely Christmas book tokens from friends, and I’ve now read five out of the nine books bought then, not bad considering they’re so (relatively) recent! A dear friend of mine saw that I was reading quite a few memoirs of people living in Alaska, far removed from modern civilization, and she suggested I read this book.

This would be interesting to you, then, although this is about a solitary hut-dwelling trapper’s life on the Svalbard islands and presumably town life for families was a little bit more comfortable (I’d hope! It made me think about things bigger than myself, as indeed living through it gave Cristiane Ritter food for thought, I highly recommend it if you want knowledge of experiences you’ll likely never have during a time we won’t see again. Readers can leave their chairs for a few hours and float to a place in the Arctic where most of us will never visit for a day much less a year she spent there. This is my second read for Annabookbel’s NordicFINDS challenge, and I’ve enjoyed picking all these books off my TBR (surely the challenge I’ve been able to fulfil most numerously from the TBR, apart from 20 Books of Summer, ever! Velmi zaujímavý je aj doslov prekladatelky Violy Somogyi, v ktorom sa podrobnejšie píše o živote jej aj jej manžela - a že sú to zaujímavé osudy.

I was fascinated by the details of Ritter’s daily tasks, but also by how her perspective on the landscape changed. The conditions were unbelievable in the book – and indeed the relationships – although she’s quite mysterious on her marriage still! If she despairs, she rarely lingers in it, and instead dives back into new experiences and new lessons and the beauty of their frozen isolation. They also would stop her doing almost anything, at one point she says that they actually put her on 'house arrest'. I feel quite indifferent towards this book- it was interesting to read about her experiences as someone who had absolutely no knowledge of anything to do with the Arctic prior to reading.

But it is also true that one will never experience in the Arctic anything that one has not oneself brought there.The descriptions of life, especially as the polar night falls and retracts (they are well north of the Arctic Circle and so literally don’t see the Sun for months and months, this is not like reasonably cosy Iceland where it does still rise in the winter) are beautiful, and the portraits of the northern lights stunning. If you've made it this far, you'll have understood how enraged this book made me - but just to clarify, I would not recommend. While the life is harsh and daunting, the author reflects on how a simple life is so much better than the complexity of modernity and on the beauty of the Arctic landscape. And I felt she almost wanted her writing to be so 'beautiful' that she never actually got to the point, it was just descriptive words.

It was the 1930s, and this was the sort of adventure that was acceptable for men (her husband had been in Norway for several years at that point) but not for women. The people on the ship Christiane sails to to meet Hermann on the Arctic island can't believe she's going to attempt this, and try to talk her out of it. He swears at women in the Arctic, their frivolity and obstinacy, which are quite out of place here considering how inexperienced they are. It boggles my mind that she and her companions went a full eight months without any kind of fresh meat. She brings to life so vividly the stark landscape of this tiny Arctic island and the hardships she endures.I think she survived through her good humor and through discovery - the "strange illumination of one's own self" and of seeing the world anew. My copy of the book contains a number of quaint little drawings by Christiane and three neat black and white photos of Christiane and Hermann, the shack in summer, and the shack in winter with just the stove pipe sticking out of the snow.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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