My Last Continent
It is only at the end of the world—among the glacial mountains, cleaving icebergs, 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 emperor and Adélie penguins, Deb and Keller can escape the frustrations and sorrows of their separate lives and find solace in their work and 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. But this year, Keller fails to appear on board. Then, shortly into the journey, Deb’s ship receives an emergency signal from the Australis, a cruise liner that has hit desperate trouble in the ice-choked waters of the Southern Ocean. Soon Deb’s role will change from researcher to rescuer; among the crew of that sinking ship, Deb learns, is Keller.
As Deb and Keller’s troubled histories collide with this catastrophic present, Midge Raymond’s phenomenal novel takes us on a voyage deep into the wonders of the Antarctic and the mysteries of the human heart. My Last Continent is packed with emotional intelligence and high stakes—a harrowing, searching novel of love and loss in one of the most remote places on earth, a land of harsh beauty where even the smallest missteps have tragic consequences—“Half adventure, half elegy, and wholly recommended” (Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves).
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Reading Group Guide
In this “original and entirely authentic love story” (Graeme Simsion, author of The Rose Project), debut novelist Midge Raymond constructs the tenuous and complex relationship between two researchers, Deb Gardner and Keller Sullivan, as set against the imperiled Antarctic landscape.
For a few weeks each year, Deb and Keller escape their personal burdens and disappointments to be with each other, serving as expedition ship tour guides while they conduct research on the habits of the emperor and Adélie penguins that populate Antarctica. However, at the start of the latest season, Deb discovers that not only is Keller not a member of the expedition ship’s staff, he is on a nearby cruise liner that that has hit troubled water and is sinking fast.
Interweaving the genesis of Deb and Keller’s relationship with its imperiled present, My Last Continent is a powerful voyage into love, loss, and the mysteries of the human heart.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. In the first few pages of My Last see more