White By Marie Darrieussecq

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The Independent Culture

Even at its most straightforward, Marie Darrieussecq's fiction has a disconcerting effect. In White we finds ourselves literally at sea, aboard a boat bound for the Antarctica. The date is 2015, and among the seafarers is Edmee, a young woman en route to a remote research station at the Pole. First she has to cope with extreme seasickness - passages whose ickiness owe much to Ian Monk's nimble translation - and then to the disorientating effects of falling in love. This is an unconventional novel that largely takes place in people's heads, and includes elements of SF and fantasy - packed with ideas and poetic language, but one that requires patience to defrost.