The Surfacing

1850. An Admiralty ship searching for Franklin’s lost expedition. An entirely male world – until Morgan, second-in-command of the Impetus, realises that there is a pregnant stowaway on board, and that he is the father. It’s too late to turn back, the ice is closing in, and the child will have to be born into the wilderness of the remote Arctic.

“That day they hauled across the ice for twelve hours straight, with never more than a few minutes’ pause, until finally Cabot collapsed. It was neither exaggeration nor display. Morgan himself stood clinging to the sledge, knew that without it he would fall. Daly too had let himself crumple to the ground, and Petersen was standing over them, ordering them to get up. He was roaring. He was right. It would be better, afterwards, to be able to say you had still been able to stand. Stretched out on the ice was too much of a concession. You were beaten, with no further asylum. It was your back against the wall.”

Read some of my thoughts about the book published here.

See photographs and documents from the world of THE SURFACING here.

Read my conversation with Philip Hoare comparing, contrasting and considering THE SURFACING and his book THE SEA INSIDE here.

Listen to the brilliant Bernard Clarke treat the question of sound in the book (for Lyric fm’s Nova) here.


English language editions: Sandstone (UK). Text (AUS). Bellevue (US – May 2015)

Audio: WF Howes (UK). Blackstone (US).

Also: De Arbeiderspers (NL), Artforum (SK), Editura Univers (RO), with more to be announced shortly.