The Solace of Open Spaces ; This Cold He"/>

THE FUTURE OF ICE: A Journey into Cold

Gretel Ehrlich, Author . Pantheon $21.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-375-42251-5

In this lyrical meditation on deep cold and its potential demise through global warming, Ehrlich (The Solace of Open Spaces ; This Cold Heaven ) backpacks among the glaciers of the southern Andes, winters in a Wyoming cabin and sails with the research ship Noorderlicht to the Greenland ice pack. Her prose is as sharply observed as poetry and nearly as compressed, and her narrative favors short scenes as fragmented as the breaking ice sheets she encounters. Though it occasionally dips into underpowered assertion ("We're spoiled because we've been living in an interglacial paradise for twenty thousand years"), it often soars to the sublime ("We are made of weather and our thoughts stream from the braid work of stillness and storms"). Ehrlich includes plenty of facts (the area covered by glaciers has diminished by 75% since 1850; increased meltwater from Greenland may actually make Europe colder), but her book is less about science than about sensation: loneliness and the relentless circling of the snowed-in mind; the rumbling of a glacier as its azure ice crumbles away; the whistling, ululating calls of the bearded seal. It does not lay out the workings of global warming nor attempt to provide blueprints for how to rescue what we are losing. It stands, instead, as a passionate elegy to what is melting away. Agent, Liz Darhansoff at Darhansoff, Verrill & Feldman . (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
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