Land of the Snow Men

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9780977072316: Land of the Snow Men

Fiction. LAND OF THE SNOW MEN is a collection of visionary stories and renderings taken from the journals of the enigmatic George Belden, who claimed to be on the tragic expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott to reach the South Pole in 1910 through 1912. Norman Lock discovered Belden and his remarkable journal by accident. He had been for some years in Africa, writing a novel, A History of the Imagination. The strain of living in a country as alien as Africa, with little money and little hope of finding a publisher, caused him to have a nervous breakdown. A friend in Mombassa contacted his wife, who arranged for his return and commitment to a private sanitarium in Vermont's Green Mountains. During the final weeks of Lock's recuperation, the institution's chief of staff asked if he would sort through boxes of old files in the sanitarium's basement to determine whether or not any should be kept. In one of those boxes, Lock found LAND OF THE SNOW MEN.

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About the Author:

From the Editor's Foreword of Land of the Snow Men: "Little is known about George Belden. One thing is certain, however; he was not in Antarctica at the time of Scott s 1910-12 expedition to the Pole, but the year after the disaster. His name does not appear on the list of passengers and crew aboard Terra Nova, nor is it mentioned by Scott in his journal or in any other known to have been kept by a member of the tragic enterprise. Belden s own journal, purporting to be that of a witness to the misadventure, is clearly an invention one which became increasingly whimsical and hallucinatory. His extraordinary account of having been with Scott, Wilson, and Bowers when they perished on the Barrier Ice and his fantastic depiction of the trolley-car hearse, which transported Scott up into Mt. Terror, must be understood as an attempt by Belden to forge a modern myth of the hero."

Review:

Any seeming absence may be filled with projections of the mind, formlessness with language formations. (As John Cage famously demonstrated, there is always noise.) Scott's hubristic fantasy of a 'realm devoid of symbols' cannot prevent their continuance or proliferation. Eventually the trauma the cold, the hunger, the failure of the quest, the malleability of language, the endless, disorienting whiteness infects him, as well with epistemological uncertainty. --Miranda Mellis, American Book Review

Norman Lock shows undeniable talent at recreating a world of ice, light and darkness where impossible visions are made credible and resist like ice statues till the melting breath of reality dissolves them. --Paula Grenside, Avatar Review

We long for an Aha. Perhaps that is the general affect of the contemporary, this longing, and if it is, the writings of George Belden help to satiate it. So we embark on his voyage, we suspend our disbelief, we voyeur. --Sandra Huber, Word for/Word

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