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A Woman in the Polar Night, Christiane Ritter


She wrote only one book in her lifetime, and lived to be 103. This woman got it right. I heard of this book from N. Miller, the author of the Stockholm Sven book I enjoyed so much… and this book did not disappoint. She left Europe in the mid-1930s to go live with her husband, a trapper in the Arctic of Spitsbergen. She was neither an explorer nor luminary. Because of this, she could appreciate the Arctic in ways those already there, but too busy or with blinders on to write anything down. Her original intent was to go there to be in remote quiet and read books, and sleep to her heart’s content. She was there with her husband and another trapper for over a year. She first thought of the Arctic as an enemy and resisted it.. the hardships, the cold, the polar nights, hunting, lost in storms, polar bears, seal hunting, foxes, the ever presence of nature all around her, yet so seemingly alone in it. But when she learned to embrace her surroundings, this opened up a new world for her without the madness of human intervention. Her style was ecstatic and lyrical with the day-to-day… the words flowed. She left the Arctic wilderness in 1935, never to return. We are gratefully left with her words to keep us warm on cold winter nights. This book is a favorite.