Centering on eccentric English millionaire shipowner, notorious hell-raiser, and the envy of all St Petersburg, Dan Yack, this strange travel yarn begins with the protagonist finding out that he is no longer wanted by his lover, Hedwiga. Rejection letter in hand, he eventually wanders into a nightclub to impulsively invite a handful of artists to accompany him on a world voyage via the Antarctic. As their journey progresses, the weather worsens and they enter pack-ice. Impatient, Dan orders the crew to land him and his three companions while they wait for a clear passage. They have enough provisions for a long, dark polar winter, but things do not run smoothly. The musician destroys their watches, the poet drifts off into serious daydreams, and the sculptor starts making statues of Dan Yack in ice. And Dan himself is worried—about time, about breaking his monocle, and about having no-one to love. But when the sun finally returns after the polar winter, no one could predict the surreal disaster that is about to unfold—a scenario involving a plum pudding, whales, women, and World War I.
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Blaise Cendrars was the author of more than 20 books and his works have been translated into 11 languages. A founder of the modern movement in literature, he inspired poets from John Dos Passos to Patti Smith.Language Notes:
Text: English, French (translation)
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