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DRIVING TO GREENLAND Stark 1994 1st ed Hardcover DJ Fine Multiple Copies Available
By Stark, Peter
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New York, 1994, 1st edition, 1st or 2nd printing. 184 pp. Black hardcover with dust jacket. Fine.

Peter Stark's Driving to Greenland delivers the many voices of winter with a crystalline clarity. Intensely personal and often electrifying, Stark's collection of essays, now in paperback, share a love for winter with an acute eye for its scientific virtues as well as the grandness of ice and snow.
 
Following the autobiographical introductory essay, "A Life Built on Snow," 11 essays are divided among three sections: "The Way Down: Winter Sports," "The Road North: Arctic Travel," and "On the Surface: Snow and Ice." In "The Way Down," Stark relates his hair-raising adventures - experiments, really - ski-jumping, luge-running, taking on the frightfully steep Aztec run at Aspen, and skiing with World Extreme Skiing Champion Doug Coombs.
 
Writings in "The Road North" evoke a strong sense of place, as Stark hops into a VW bus and heads for Greenland, explores the duality of Iceland's fire and ice, and paddles into the legacy of the sea kayak. "On the Surface" brings the collection nicely to a close with an intimate, and at times magical, sense of wonder. Of midnight ice-boating, Stark writes, "You're released from friction as well as sprung from time and space, aware only of raw speed--a slender projectile wrapped in the scream of the wind and the roar of the runners."

Within these covers Stark relates life's lessons learned at the brink, often at high speeds, as he slips, regains an edge, and rights himself again and again. An elegant and wise book.

Snow and ice warm Stark's heart, and in this collection of a dozen essays, most of which appeared in the Smithsonian and Outside, he envelops readers in the frigid charms of ski jumping, narwhal hunting, dog sledding, iceboat sailing, skating on thin ice and kayak-making.

One chapter is gleefully devoted to connoisseurs' names for different kinds of snowflakes and the mysteries of their structure, another to descriptions of bad and good ice and prescriptions for making the latter. Besides providing appreciations of the beauties of snowflakes, newly fallen snow and good ice, Stark's account of his journeys to Greenland and Iceland is filled with rare tidbits about both countries and his daring adventures there. Instructive and enchanting.

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