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About The Book

Lab Girl meets Why Fish Don’t Exist in this “compelling blend of memoir, environmental writing, and scientific exploration” (Kirkus Reviews) from a young scientist studying penguins in Antarctica—a firsthand account of the beauty and brutality of this remote climate, the direct effects of climate change on animals, and the challenges of fieldwork.

Offering a dramatic, captivating window into a once-in-a-lifetime experience, The Last Cold Place details Naira de Gracia’s time living and working in a remote outpost in Antarctica alongside seals, penguins, and a small crew of fellow field workers. In one of the most inhospitable environments in the world (for humans, anyway), Naira follows a generation of chinstrap penguins from their parents’ return to shore to build nests from pebbles until the chicks themselves are old enough to head out to sea.

Naira describes the life cycle of a funny, engaging colony of chinstrap penguins whose food source (krill, or small crustaceans) is powerfully affected by the changing ocean in lively and entertaining anecdotes. Weaving together the history of Antarctic exploration with climate science, field observations, and her own personal journey of growth and reflection, The Last Cold Place illuminates the complex place that Antarctica holds in our cultural imagination—and offers a rare glimpse into life on this uninhabited continent.

About The Author

Naira de Gracia grew up moving around the world with her journalist parents and sibling. She graduated high school in Cairo, Egypt, and attended college in California. After completing her BA in biology, she worked as a wildlife technician for six years, on remote islands in the Hawaiian chain, the Antarctic, the Samoan archipelago, the Bering Sea and off the coast of California, continuously writing about her experiences. She currently lives in Wellington, New Zealand. The Last Cold Place is her first book.

About The Reader

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (April 4, 2023)
  • Runtime: 8 hours and 3 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781797154244

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Raves and Reviews

"The sounds of penguins chattering and a blowing wind open Naira de Garcia’s audiobook recalling her experiences as a biologist in Antarctica. Aven Shore narrates with de Garcia’s tone of self-deprecation about her life of grime; at the same time, she gently suggests the author’s fascination with the penguins she’s monitoring. Shore conveys the routine of the work even as she revels in de Garcia’s fascination with penguin individuality. Shore sounds sad as she narrates the decline of a seal colony. Occasionally, Shore brings humor to an anecdote such as de Garcia’s discovery of what a washboard is or the adjustments in New Year’s rituals needed in such a challenging locale. Shore surprises listeners late in the audiobook with a dead-on masculine voice as colleague Matt mimics earlier explorers."

– AudioFile Magazine

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