Science, Memoir, Non-Fiction
The Experiment; August 18, 2020
160 pages (Hardcover)
2 / 5 ✪
I was kindly provided an advance-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to The Experiment and NetGalley for the ARC! All opinions are my own.
I requested Hidden Life of Ice because I was expecting a scientific explanation of Greenland and ice floe and the climate change that’s resulting in its disappearance. What I got was not nearly as interesting.
Hidden Life of Ice reads like a field notebook crossed with a memoir, at least if that field notebook was full of random fun-facts that you could use to impress with at trivia. Despite it being centered in Greenland, there’s very little—almost nothing really—about ice. Prior to Chapter 9, ice is only described in any length once. And for that only about in one or two paragraphs. There’s a decent amount of history—the discovery of Greenland, and its settlement; the Northwest Passage, and extinction; the birth of the universe. There’s a bit of astronomy, physics, global warming, and geology. There’s a decent amount about the author and his team, their lives before, their time in Greenland. Just very little about ice.
There was a little about the Thule, the Inuit, the Vikings—the history of the human habitation of Greenland, that was of passing interest. Though mostly it was about the Vikings and their colonization of the land. And about its naming. Then later about its use and importance to scientists. Nothing too in-depth and nothing too interesting, sadly.
My favorite part was the brief (and I mean brief) time that the author talked about englacial flow. This is a bit like an aquifer, an underground river, just through a glacier as opposed to permeable rock. It sounds so cool! Even the author seemed impressed and amazed when he described it—only to lose focus to some other non-ice topic a few sentences later.
If you were to read this hoping for something in depth on Greenland and ice, prepare to be disappointed. If you were after a decent memoir filled with random facts about random Greenland-related topics, I guess this is the book for you. I found it boring and dry. I thought the story meandered aimlessly when I could find a story at all. But then I was expecting more about glaciology, ice science, maybe hydrology and physics. So long as you don’t go in with expectations like mine—hopefully it’ll provide a decent read.