Brother in Ice by Alicia Kopf (tr. Mara Faye Lethem)

a nutshell: a pure expanse of curiosity about polar exploration conceals, at first, the most pressing exploration in this book: selfhood, in the midst of challenging family relations

a line: “it’s in relationships, and not in places, that we rest”

an image: Kopf reveals her secret thought: all pools are interconnected, and this same water filters through us – making up 70% of our bodies – while the dry 30% of our bodies renews every 7 years; the only continuous part of us is our history

a thought: the narrator’s reflections on growing up with an autistic brother resonated strongly with me as the sister to an autistic brother myself – at one point she says she had to be an easy presence, independent, and describes a thin layer of ice forming between her and the others, almost paralleling her brother’s attitude

a fact: the earliest one in the book stuck with me – the word ‘Arctic’ comes from the Greek word ‘árktikos’ meaning ‘near the bear’ while ‘Antarctic’ is from ‘antárktikos’, ‘the place with no bears’, but rather penguins

 

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