Or in Latin, Fortitudine Vincimus: “By Endurance We Conquer.”
Writing for @NewYorker, David Grann has an article titled “The White Darkness: A solitary journey across Antarctica” that is nothing short of mind-blowing, breathtaking and inspiring.
The piece follows the journey of Henry Worsley, a 55-year-old British Army officer, who attempted to become the first person ever to trek the entire continent of Antarctica on his own, without the aid of animals or servants or, I don’t know, valets.
A thousand miles. Up 10,000 feet to the summit of the Titan Dome and then down to the other side, from the bottom of South America to the bottom of New Zealand.
Why would someone do this? The reasons are many and varied, but Mr. Grann does a thorough job in exploring the historical background, both of Mr. Worsley and his family as well as one of the continent’s most legendary explorers, Ernest Shackleton.
The story is captivating in and of itself, but for me it brought to mind one of my favourite pieces of CanLit, Wayne Johnston’s The Navigator of New York, a work of historical fiction set at the turn of the 20th century as (mostly) Europeans and Americans attempted to “conquer” the Arctic. Johnston, the author of another brilliant novel called The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, has long been compared to Don DeLillo, so if you’re a fan of the Underworld author, definitely check out Wayne Johnston – and David Grann’s piece from The New Yorker!