• Title: The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule
  • Author: Joanna Kavenna
  • ISBN: 9780143038467
  • Page: 371
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Ice Museum In Search of the Lost Land of Thule A legend a land once seen and then lost forever Thule was a place beyond the edge of the maps a mystery for thousands of years And to the Nazis Thule was an icy Eden birthplace of Nordic purity I
    A legend, a land once seen and then lost forever, Thule was a place beyond the edge of the maps, a mystery for thousands of years And to the Nazis, Thule was an icy Eden, birthplace of Nordic purity In this exquisitely written narrative, Joanna Kavenna wanders in search of Thule, to Shetland, Iceland, Norway, Estonia, Greenland, and Svalbard, unearthing the philosopherA legend, a land once seen and then lost forever, Thule was a place beyond the edge of the maps, a mystery for thousands of years And to the Nazis, Thule was an icy Eden, birthplace of Nordic purity In this exquisitely written narrative, Joanna Kavenna wanders in search of Thule, to Shetland, Iceland, Norway, Estonia, Greenland, and Svalbard, unearthing the philosophers, poets, and explorers who claimed Thule for themselves, from Richard Francis Burton to Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen Marked by breathtaking snowscapes, haunting literature, and the cold specter of past tragedies, this is a wondrous blend of travel writing and detective work that is impossible to set down RVIEW Thule, real or not, is ripe and beguiling material for a literary and geographic adventurer, and Kavenna is formidable on both fronts Highly cerebral, erudite, refreshing The New York Times Book Review

    One Reply to “The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule”

    1. Thule is one of those mysteries of geography, like Atlantis, over which people like to argue - did it or did it not really exist? It has appeared in literature for an incredibly long time, but so much in literature has been passed down over centuries without much to back it up - like an urban legend. It seems every one wants to claim a piece of Thule, and has "origins" in Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Estonia and on and on. The author here goes on a physical journey to try to find some proof in ea [...]

    2. oooh this is going to be a chore, the writing style has little merit so I am hanging on for some delicious factoidswel #1 - Arne Naess: it's good to have another look at this man who, incidently, has moved to the edges of suburbia now - loljewel #2 - Burton's visit to Iceland; Auden's visit to same.

    3. I adore tomes about exploration, particularly with regard to Scandinavia and the Arctic. I was thus incredibly excited when a copy of The Ice Museum winged its way to me. It is, surprisingly, more of a history book than the travelogue which is advertised. Far more emphasis has been placed upon other explorations than on Kavenna's own journey to find the lost land of Thule. I did find the facts which she relayed throughout interesting, but her writing oscillated between a little dull, and over th [...]

    4. I have always been a dreamer. I have always been that guy, the guy who you would always catch staring off into space, dreaming of what it would be like be somewhere else, to be in a place completely foreign and new with endless discoveries and landscapes straight out of a fantasy. In my early to mid twenties, whenever I’d envision the perfect getaway, I always imagined a place cultured and refined, a place filled with interesting history far away from all those fangled beaches where tourists g [...]

    5. Hmmmm. I really thought I would eat this up, despite the mediocre reviews I kept seeing for it. It has all the elements that usually entrance me--travel, the Arctic, mystery, ancient history, a gorgeous cover (I know, I know, you're not supposed to judge)--and yet somehow it still all fell flat. Part of the problem for me was that I couldn't quite figure out what Kavenna was trying to do here. The title implies a sort of research journey into the origins and location of Thule, but while Kavenna [...]

    6. If you have a background in environmental or place-based studies, Kavenna's conclusions will come as no surprise to you, but I was captivated by her historical research on Thule as well as by her narrative voice. Also, she loves the natural world and adventures out into that world. Several times in MFA workshop, I was forced to listen to a group of male classmates espouse that the "problem with fiction written by women is (insert thinly veiled sexist comment here that somehow always circles arou [...]

    7. I picked up this book expecting an examination of the myths of Thule (which I knew nothing about) and found a travelogue along with some history, but not much about the myths. I barreled through this book as quickly as possible since I'm more interested in pop-anthropology than travelogues (I'd rather go there than read about it). However, now I know where the Thule ski racks come from, although I find I'm disturbed by the choice of the name after the whole Nazi references.

    8. I wanted to like this, it promised so much - the legend of Thule, history, mystery, travel and ice. All things I love. But it was rambling, directionless and repetitive. I would need to stop mid-paragraph to remind myself what the topic was when the prose got bogged down in self-indulgent, overly lyrical language. Very disappointing.

    9. Kavenna searches for the legendary land of Thule, first described by a 4th-century BC Greek explorer, who claimed that it lay six days north of Scotland. She follows the routes of previous explorers such as Fridtjof Nansen and Richard Burton and visits the Shetland Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and Svalbarg, among others. Kavenna explores a number of topics, including the Nazis (who viewed Thule as a lost Aryan homeland), the Cold War (the United States maintains an airbase in Greenland called Th [...]

    10. This was one of those rare times that I slogged through a book but kept going. There were some gorgeous passages, and I'm really interested in the history of the arctic, but damn was it slow going. I think the problem is that the author was writing about something nebulous, or at least going about it in an indirect way. That, or I'm just not that crazy about books that are deeply philosophical and personal to the author's own experience, and that have a vague conclusion leaving you feel like you [...]

    11. “Some said ‘Toolay’, some said ‘Thoolay’, a very few said ‘Thool’. Poets rhymed Thule with newly, truly and unruly, but never, it seemed with drool.”The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule was far better in theory than in execution. Former journalist Joanna Kavenna (yes the same one whose book, The Birth of Love, is on this year’s Orange Prize longlist) has a fascination with Thule, which was first described by Greek explorer Pytheas, who claimed to have reached it [...]

    12. Thule is a place of legend, similar to Atlantis, or Shangi-La. Pytheas wrote of a northern island with a midnight sun, surrounded by a frozen sea, a mist-filled land of 'endless splendour' that ever since no one has been able to find, but has been romanticised through centuries of literature. Several features of Thule (pronounced Toolay, not like it rhymes with drool, as the author helpfully points out) are characteristics of several places, including Iceland and Svalbard, but no one place has a [...]

    13. A legend, a land once seen and then lost forever, Thule was a place beyond the edge of the maps, a mystery for thousands of years. And to the Nazis, Thule was an icy Eden, birthplace of Nordic �purity.� In this exquisitely written narrative, Joanna Kavenna wanders in search of Thule, to Shetland, Iceland, Norway, Estonia, Greenland, and Svalbard, unearthing the philosophers, poets, and explorers who claimed Thule for themselves, from Richard Francis Burton to Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nans [...]

    14. I can't help but compare this book of the frozen north to Rising Fire, which was also a travel memoir set around a topic (Volcanoes). Ice Museum does a much better job of staying within the realm of the topic itself; the author, while always present, rarely becomes a focus. And there's no new age diversions (well, unless your opinions on climate change skew in Crichton's direction).A couple issues though. The prose can be thick sometimes, and there's really only so many ways to describe sunrises [...]

    15. Low 4. The author has provided an intriguing exploration of the northern-most tips of Europe in search of the lost kingdom of Thule. This ice-laden kingdom was first explored by Pytheas in the fourth century BC and Kavenna provides part history-part travelogue as she sets about trying to locate its exact position. Along the way the author provides both beautiful descritions of the harsh unforgiving landscapes of the Shetlands and Iceland, synopses of Grennland and Estonia society, a history of A [...]

    16. In this book, Joanna Kavenna writes about places that are of great interest to me - Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard, and others - but in a way I frequently found off-putting. Her brief is to search for Thule, the mythical northern land of the ancients, but her musings on the Thule myth frequently prevent her from writing about the fascinating people and places that pass before her eyes. Only in the final chapter, about Svalbard, does she integrate her thoughts about Thule effectively into the narra [...]

    17. I love this style of memoir where the unravelling of an obsession becomes a treasure hunt, where time for the author seems to dip away and the "problem" of finding an answer or conclusion is tantamount to the machinations of everyday life, to breathing itself. This book is a history lesson on cold. Smack in the middle of an actual Summer in San Francisco where it has been Hot for real, reading a chapter every morning was a replacement for the air conditioning that houses here lack. I want Kavenn [...]

    18. Normally, as my record of reviews can attest, I hate nonfiction books where a person explores an interesting concept by being a tourist and then effectively chapter-length blogs about it. This was the first time in years, however, that I did not hate this formula. Kavenna's writing is good and her passion genuine. The topic is extremely interesting and two of her chapters in particular stand out (Thule Society and Greenland). Still, this book could have been a lot more engaging with an actual sc [...]

    19. Had to give up a little over halfway through. Essentially just a self-congratulatory travel journal, bordering at times on a boring-as-shit autobiography. Her 'search for Thule' merely involves reciting the accounts of others who actually put effort into their explorations. Oh, and sometimes she'll ask the opinion of someone on the street trying to go about their day. Spoiler alert: they never have anything interesting to contribute.Spoiler alert: neither does she.2/10 because she's at least poi [...]

    20. A lyrically written history and travelogue of the extreme north regions. The theme of the book centers around a search for the legendary land of Thule first written about by Greek explorer Pytheas in the fourth century BC. Interestingly, a proto-Nazi group called the Thule Society met in Munich in the twenties and thirties, discussing the supposed homeland of their Aryan ancestors. Their ideas went on to inform some of the cultural mythology of the Nazis.

    21. This book was not at all what I had expected, but I still enjoyed it. The author has a beautiful writing style. I loved her adventures in far northern countries. Part of her search for Thule led her to a pre-Nazi society in Germany that had little to do with the legendary land of Thule. It was a rather jarring chapter in the middle of the book. The author admits to this but still for some reason includes it in the book. Despite this, the book was an enjoyable read.

    22. Part travelogue, part history and fable, Kavenna's book The Ice Museum details her quest for the land of Thule. First referenced by the Romans, no one appears quite sure where Thule is and the author ends up vising Norway, Estonia, Iceland, Greenland, The Shetland Islands and Germany. Kavenna finds Thule has as many meanings as it does possible locations, from a symbol of nature to an ideology. Fascinating and unique

    23. Part travel narrative, part history book, part memoir. I learned so much about the Atlantis of the North and about the geography and history of the north. The book is poetically written and wastes few words. My only complaint is with the crafting of the final chapter. By making the conclusion themed around Svaldbard, Kavenna spent more time wrapping up the book than describing the Svalbard landscape, and I would have liked to read more about it.

    24. This started slowly, confusing me with a chapter called Forward and there were times when I thought it was just a slog. Beautifully written but just how many northern sunsets can one read about? Then it began to worm itself into my consciousness and by the time Kavenna reached Finland I was gripped. I had to send away for The Kalevala! The chapters on Estonia, Greenland and Svalbard, I found particularly interesting. It's a quiet book but one I feel I will think about in the months to come.

    25. This one is gorgeously written: the language is almost poetry. But Kavenna is attempting some kind of travelogue in the northwest Atlantic and that mission isn't really well fulfilled. I don't know that much more about Iceland or Svalbard or any of the other "Thule" candidates, but at least the journey is somewhat spellbinding in a different way.

    26. ONLY THE PAST IS IMMORTAL. DECIDE TO TAKE A TRIP, READ BOOKS OF TRAVELGO QUICKLY! EVEN SOCRATES IS MORTALMENTION THE NAME OF HAPPINESS: IT IS ATLANTIS, ULTIMA THULE, OR THE LIMELIGHT,CATHAY OR HEAVEN. BUT GO QUICKLY . . .“PERSONAE,” DELMORE SCHWARTZ (1913-1966)

    27. Wow this edition needed an editor. Cut, cut, cut. Would have loved it if I could have gotten through the redundant sentences.

    28. I love travel writing and the Arctic, but there were niggles in the author's writing style that I couldn't get past. Gave up!

    29. An interesting tale of the search for Thule.cially if you've been to Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard, Norway, etc.

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