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A modern classic of Antarctic exploration, beautifully rejacketed to join The Magnetic North

After writing two highly praised travel books, Sara Wheeler was invited by the American government to be the 1994 'Writer in Residence at the US South Pole Station'. She spent six weeks at the pole and on the edge of the infamous Ross Ice Shelf which finally defeated Fiennes and Stroud in their recent unsupported Antarctic crossing. She then joined the British Antarctic Survey for a month on the other side where oil and minerals are rich but too expensive to extract. She looked at how people live on the bases and how the landscape affects them. For her, Antarctica functions as Patagonia did for Bruce Chatwin, the myths and history carrying as much import as the ration of two two-minute showers a week or how the inhabitants let off steam and avoid hating each other in confined quarters.


Antarctica could hope for no better chronicler: spirited, humorous and highly intelligent, she is also a writer of rare talent


Penetrating, vivacious and often amusing, Wheeler's record has a sharp authenticity

The Times

She writes with a consistent wry wit... she never lacks empathy, compassion or generosity for people whose values, background and gender were the polar opposite of hers...What she has done could not be done better


Her book is an impressive achievement, one genuinely brushed by the ghosts of the past

Beryl Bainbridge, Literary Review

Terra Incognita deserves to be a bestseller...a wonderful book and terrific corrective to the polar bulldust periodically emitted by Sir Ralph Wotsisname and others of his ilk

Daily Telegraph

Every phrase, every observation twitches with life; every colour seems her own. Forget Antarctica, the mind is a big place, too. I found myself falling for this writer's strong, incisive wisdom even more than the ice sheet and penguins

Julie Myerson, Mail on Sunday

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Formats & editions

  • EBook


    August 1, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    320 pages

    Online retailers

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  • Terra Incognita
    Sara Wheeler



    October 3, 1997


    320 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
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    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

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