cover image A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice

A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice

William E. Glassley. Bellevue Literary, $17.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-942658-34-4

Glassley, a geologist at the University of California at Davis and an emeritus researcher at Aarhus University, Denmark, retraces his several expeditions to Greenland alongside Danish colleagues Kai Sørensen and John Korstgård in this thoughtful volume about how his scientific work shifted his perspective on notions of wilderness. The men spent weeks camped out and “isolated from the rest of humanity” to sample, photograph, and measure ancient bedrock. Though their scientific interests were purely academic, Glassley says, their experiences were “almost mystical.” Glassley divides his narrative into three primary sections, each featuring observations that helped to change his perception of Greenland’s vast terrain. The first part, “Fractionation,” deals with ways in which Glassley’s expectations had been altered. In the second, “Consolidation,” he comes to terms with the reality that “ignorance is an integral part of being aware.” The third, “Emergence,” contains “small epiphanies about our place in existence.” Glassley documents his observations, spending considerable time and effort among “rolling outcrops, tundra plains and pockets, massive rock walls and glaciated peaks.” Evincing humility in the midst of the great “unshaped wild,” Glassley exudes a palpable and infectious sense of wonder that is bound to draw contemplative readers. Maps. Agent: Malaga Baldi, Baldi Agency. (Feb.)