Monday, June 20, 2016

"My Last Continent"

Midge Raymond is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short-story collection Forgetting English. Her writing has appeared in TriQuarterly, American Literary Review, Bellevue Literary Review, the Los Angeles Times magazine, Poets & Writers, and many other publications.

Raymond applied the Page 69 Test to My Last Continent and reported the following:
At this point in the novel, the reader will be taking a step back from the current narrative to learn what happens when Deb Gardner first meets Keller Sullivan. They are both working at the U.S. Antarctic base McMurdo Station when they fall for each other. Here’s what happens a few sentences into page 69:
Sex at McMurdo happens in stolen moments; it’s furtive and quiet, thanks to too-close living quarters, roommates, thin walls. I don’t know how many days blur together between that first kiss and the first night we spend in my dorm, but finally, after an aeon of helpless and constantly rising desire, we sneak out of an all-staff party and crowd into the narrow bunk in my room, ravishing each other like sex-starved teenagers, which is also typical of McMurdo residents.

Afterwards, as the bass traveling on the wind from a distant building echoes the thumping of our hearts, in the arid heat of the room, sweat evaporating from our skin, it seems we could be anywhere—but at the same time, I realize this is the only place where our sudden relationship could feel as familiar to me as the icy, moonlike terrain surrounding us outside the room’s tiny windows.

In the weeks that follow, we steal time whenever we can—when my roommate is in the field, when Keller’s is at work; it becomes difficult, at other times, to think of anything else. When we come in from the field, we have to peel off so many layers I think we’ll never find skin, until there it is, burning under our hands, dry and hot, two deserts finding water.
While this page isn’t representative of the book as a whole, it offers a good look at Deb and Keller’s relationship. From when they first meet at McMurdo to when they discover themselves on different ships in the Southern Ocean, unable to find their way back to each other, the themes are similar: They never have nearly enough time together, and Antarctica is an inextricable part of their relationship and who they are. And I hope it makes readers curious about what happens to Deb and Keller by the end of the book.
Learn more about the author and her work at Midge Raymond's website.

--Marshal Zeringue