Midge Raymond’s My Last Continent was one of our Top 10 International Reads of 2016.
My Last Continent Synopsis:
It is only at the end of the world — among the glacier mountains and frigid waters of Antarctica — where Deb Gardner and Keller Sullivan feel at home. For the few blissful weeks they spend each year studying the habits of penguins, Deb and Keller can escape the frustrations and sorrows of their separate lives and find solace in each other. But Antarctica, like their fleeting romance, is tenuous, imperiled by the world to the north.
A new travel and research season has just begun, and Deb and Keller are ready to play tour guide to the passengers on the small expedition ship that ferries them to their research destination. Except that this year, Keller fails to appear on board. Shortly into the trip, Deb’s ship receives an emergency signal from the Australis, a cruise liner that has hit desperate trouble in the ice-choked waters. And among the crew of the sinking ship is Keller…
As Deb and Keller’s troubled histories collide with this catastrophic present, Deb’s role turns from researcher to rescuer all too aware that in this land of harsh beauty even the smallest missteps can have tragic consequences.
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My Last Continent was one of the June book releases that particularly caught my attention. Having favourably reviewed two titles from Ashland Creek Press, the eco-conscious boutique publisher Midge Raymond is the co-founder and editor of, I was eager to read her own debut novel. Midge’s upcoming visit to the Brisbane Writers Festival gave me good reason to bump it up my reading list.
The quality of Raymond’s prose struck me from the opening lines.
As I lead tourists from the Zodiacs up rocky trails to the penguin colonies, I notice how these visitors — stuffed into oversize, puffy red parkas — walk like the penguins themselves: eyes to the snowy ground, arms out for balance. They’re as determined as the penguins to get where they’re going — but they’re not here to ask about the birds, about these islands…
Deb’s narrative voice is something special — an innately credible combination of candour, perceptive observation and social-inhibition. Through these eyes (along with compelling, selectively timed disclosure and myriad simile) Raymond brings the Antarctic environment and plight of those that inhabit it, animal and human, alive for readers.
His eyes meet mine in that way I love, almost like the sidelong glance of a penguin: intent, curious, unwavering.
My Last Continent is an uncompromising, multi-layered story of love and admiration — of people, animals and environment — in which authenticity and beauty is born from their imperfections.
As I gaze out at the white face of the largest berg, its rime scratched with forked edges revealing the old, dark-blue ice deep within, I wonder if Keller and I might age together as beautifully, whether we can last in a world in which everything is melting, disappearing.
Vivid and emotionally astute, both heartrending and hopeful, Midge Raymond’s My Last Continent is a novel I recommend without reservation.
I look forward to reading more from this talented author.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5 — Overall 4.75
Get your copy of My Last Continent from:
Genre: Literature, Adventure, Drama, Romance
- Read a great Q&A on the Text Blog, “Graeme Simsion Chats to Midge Raymond About Her Debut Novel, My Last Continent“.
- Midge Raymond writes about ‘Antarctica as a Literary Character’ on the Foyles blog
About the Author, Midge Raymond
Midge Raymond is an award-winning short-story writer (Forgetting English) who worked in publishing in New York before moving to Boston, where she taught creative writing. She has published two books for writers, Everyday Writing and Everyday Book Marketing. Midge lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is co-founder of the boutique publisher Ashland Creek Press. My Last Continent is her first novel.