South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby
A Novel

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Shelby, who lives in Minneapolis, keeps more than a few story lines thrumming here, yet a keen eye for character and a sharp ear for smartass dialogue keeps the strands straight. She also offers up a fair amount of science.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

DO YOU HAVE DIGESTION PROBLEMS DUE TO STRESS? DO YOU HAVE PROBLEMS WITH AUTHORITY? HOW MANY ALCOHOLIC DRINKS DO YOU CONSUME A WEEK? WOULD YOU RATHER BE A FLORIST OR A TRUCK DRIVER?

These are some of the questions that determine if you have what it takes to survive at South Pole Station, a place with an average temperature of -54°F and no sunlight for six months a year. Cooper Gosling has just answered five hundred of them. Her results indicate she is abnormal enough for Polar life.

Cooper’s not sure if this is an achievement, but she knows she has nothing to lose. Unmoored by a recent family tragedy, she’s adrift at thirty and―despite her early promise as a painter―on the verge of sinking her career. So she accepts her place in the National Science Foundation’s Artists & Writers Program and flees to Antarctica, where she encounters a group of misfits motivated by desires as ambiguous as her own. The only thing the Polies have in common is the conviction that they don’t belong anywhere else. Then a fringe scientist arrives, claiming climate change is a hoax. His presence will rattle this already-imbalanced community, bringing Cooper and the Polies to the center of a global controversy and threatening the ancient ice chip they call home.

A warmhearted comedy of errors set in the world’s harshest place, Ashley Shelby's South Pole Station is a wry and witty debut novel about the courage it takes to band together when everything around you falls apart.

 

About Ashley Shelby

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Ashley Shelby received a degree in journalism from Indiana University and a Masters of Fine Arts in nonfiction writing from Columbia University. Her work has been published in The Nation, Gastronomica, Post Road, The Sonora Review, and The Portland Review, as well as in the anthology Looking Back. Her fiction has been awarded the William Faulkner Short Fiction Award. Shelby grew up in Minneapolis and now lives in New York, where she works in publishing and is the co-curator of the KGB Bar Nonfiction Reading Series.
 
Published July 3, 2017 by Picador. 368 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction
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Critic reviews for South Pole Station
All: 3 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on Jun 06 2017

Hovering over all is Cooper’s sort-of “spirit animal,” the British explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard, who wrote the Antarctica classic The Worst Journey in the World. This new book would no doubt confound him but, in the end, bring him delight. Jokes lubricate a moving and occasionally preposterous story of love and death in the Antarctic cold.

Read Full Review of South Pole Station: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Jul 04 2017

In this unusual, entertaining first novel, Ashley Shelby combines science with literature to make a clever case for scientists' and artists' shared conviction that "the world could become known if only you looked hard enough."

Read Full Review of South Pole Station: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Kim Ode on Jun 30 2017

Shelby, who lives in Minneapolis, keeps more than a few story lines thrumming here, yet a keen eye for character and a sharp ear for smartass dialogue keeps the strands straight. She also offers up a fair amount of science.

Read Full Review of South Pole Station: A Novel | See more reviews from Star Tribune

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