The White Darkness by David Grann

By Audrey Andrews | February 5th, 2021

The White Darkness by David Grann was first introduced to me as a story in The New Yorker. The piece encapsulated me, and it’s Shackleton references led me to share the story with my grandfather.

Over a year later, my partner gifted me a signed copy of a book he thought I’d enjoy. The title was The White Darkness. I did not immediately realize this was the story I’d loved in The New Yorker, but quickly experienced a bit of déjà vu and realized the connection. The second time around, this time in print instead of on a computer, I remained in love with the story.

I enjoyed this book so much that I do not want to give away the plot. Simply put, a British man, Henry Worsley, is obsessed with Antarctic expeditions. The theme of the book I found myself most drawn to is limits. The main character is trying to find the limit of his physical exertion before death. Shackleton was a great adventurer, but he was able to make the call to end a journey before death struck. Readers wonder: can Worsley do the same?

Anyone who has played a sport to win can appreciate the juxtaposition between physical pain and pushing your body to achieve a goal. Oftentimes, pushing through pain is rewarding. Sometimes, it is dangerous.

The main character of this true story pushes his body to its limit. He accomplishes amazing things by looking over the edge of what is possible. To any adventurer, this tale will surely inspire.

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