Book Review: “Out of the Ice” by Ann Turner (#AWW2017)



There is a unique female experience, of having carried a baby for the full term but lost it at the last moment due to some unforeseen reason, that remains a challenging subject matter for writers to pursue. A sense of guilt, a desire to blame, a deliberate and often fierce attempt to shift one’s focus away from the traumatic memories while always searching for a rationale behind them. A question that is seldom answered intellectually, emotionally and/or psychologically: Why?

In Ann Turner’s Out of the Ice (Simon & Schuster, 2016), Australian environmental scientist Laura Alvarado begins her journey of (self-)discovery with the above-mentioned life-changing experience. Set in Antarctica before moving on to the United States and Italy, the story well blends global upheavals with personal tragedies, and is equipped with a strong female character whose weaknesses and nightmares are clear for all to see. What sustains Laura is her determination to protect the vulnerable, as well as an acknowledgement of her own vulnerability. Indeed, readers are invited to see her more as a passionate but sensible scientist than a sensitive woman.

Out of the Ice is a refreshing read because of its setting. Events, locations and individuals of historical significance are introduced with amazing details, mixed with a sense of suspense that keeps readers attached to the various types of turbulence in our modern world. Halfway through the book, readers may begin to sense two possible answers to the mysterious disturbance in Antarctica, and it is a bit disappointing that no surprise emerges near the story’s end, which appears to be slightly rushed. Still, based on solid research, the story is superbly told, with ample twists and turns calmly and skilfully revealed to keep readers glued to the pages.

Finally, the Book Club Notes at the end of the book are incredibly useful for those in a reflective mood. They not only help readers better understand the obvious and hidden themes throughout the plot, but also point to other possibilities and stir up imagination at night. All in all, Out of the Ice is a book one cannot miss, particularly when one cares about humanity’s future. It is not a sermon in the form of a novel on principles, obligations and responsibilities. It just makes one care.

More information about Ann Turner’s Out of the Ice can be found here.


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