REVIEW: South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby
SOUTH POLE STATION by Ashley Shelby plops an artist into a scientific community without an escape hatch. Eccentric hilarity abounds.
Cooper Gosling earns a fellowship as part of an artists and writers program to create a portfolio while living at the South Pole Station. Her father has always been obsessed with the South Pole, which rubbed off on Cooper and her twin brother David. Now she has the chance to live their dreams.
It doesn’t take Cooper long to realize there isn’t much to draw or paint when you’re looking at all white scenery. The people intrigue her. We meet a fascinating group of strange individuals who embody the spirit of exploration in a place near inhabitable for most life forms. Artists mingle with Scientists which is crazier than it sounds.
Cooper isn’t perfect either, which is why she was chosen for the program. It takes a certain type of individual and mental stability to endure these conditions. Even though Cooper is still dealing with her brother’s suicide, his mental condition part of the blame for his actions, the powers-that-be believe she’s stable enough to work through this.
There were time shifts in this novel that made me falter in my reading, mostly at the beginning and the end. They didn’t deflect my overall reading pleasure, but I did wonder why they were there because the transitions weren’t as smooth as I expected. This may be more of a fiction style that I’m not used to because I just didn’t get it sometimes.
The science detail is rampant and exquisite but I didn’t understand half of it without a formal science background. I related more to the artist. Cooper spoke to me and I connected with her heart and soul. Even though the science jargon was overwhelming at times, the characterization was so good that it drove me forward, anxious for their eventual happiness.
I laughed a lot at these characters. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure I’d finish this book because of the sexual connotations that sounded more like a man thinking than a woman. The contradiction made it difficult to understand the point and it often irritated me. But, the characters are quirky and fun, something I love, so I kept reading.
Now that I look back at the first few chapters, I don’t understand why I had such a rough time understanding this book in the beginning. The second time I restarted the book I felt it should have started at 4 percent in the digital format. This is one of those types of novels that’s so deeply researched that if you’re not a fan of this subject, then you’re going to be confused. Just go with it, because the overall affect is well worth it.
I’m glad I persevered through what made me question and some of the over-the-top technicalities that had me ponder what was going on. There were some overly vivid situations that made me wonder what surprise the author had for us next. I can’t say I enjoyed all of them, but it was riveting. I did love the alternative theories about how the world began and the debate on climate change, which will make this book something to discuss with your friends. It’s the eccentric group of people working in the worst conditions who make light of their intelligence and abilities that make this novel a keeper.
I highly recommend SOUTH POLE STATION by Ashley Shelby to all quirky individuals. You will find something familiar to laugh at and enjoy the eccentricities that make each of us so unique. Ashley Shelby is a gifted writer with enthusiasm for the geek within us.
Review by Dorine, courtesy of The Zest Quest. Digital copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review.
South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby
Category: Humorous Fiction
Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (July 3, 2017)
Rated 4 out of 5