The Quickening: Creation and Community at the Ends of the Earth (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

This beautiful book rings with astounding truth and extraordinary passion for the care and salvation of our planet. An expedition narrative, it follows 57 scientists and crew as they set out on a ship to see the Thwaites Glacier–a natural monument unexplored by humans and rapidly deteriorating. Elizabeth Rush documents the trip and while illustrating the implications of a colossal loss such as this, she also invites us to embrace hope if we wish to imagine a better future. This book defies the typical colonial adventure story and advocates for a new language of community and inclusiveness, of listening to those voices that have been silenced and acknowledging what we can learn from the practice of stewardship, rather than ownership.
— From Natalie's Picks


A NPR Best Book of 2023
A Shelf Awareness Best Nonfiction Book of 2023
An August 2023 Indie Next Pick, selected by booksellers
A Vogue Most Anticipated Book of 2023
A WBUR Summer Reading Recommendation
A Next Big Idea Club's August 2023 Must-Read BookAn astonishing, vital book about Antarctica, climate change, and motherhood from the author of Rising, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.
In 2019, fifty-seven scientists and crew set out onboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer. Their destination: Thwaites Glacier. Their goal: to learn as much as possible about this mysterious place, never before visited by humans, and believed to be both rapidly deteriorating and capable of making a catastrophic impact on global sea-level rise.In The Quickening, Elizabeth Rush documents their voyage, offering the sublime--seeing an iceberg for the first time; the staggering waves of the Drake Passage; the torqued, unfamiliar contours of Thwaites--alongside the workaday moments of this groundbreaking expedition. A ping-pong tournament at sea. Long hours in the lab. All the effort that goes into caring for and protecting human life in a place that is inhospitable to it. Along the way, she takes readers on a personal journey around a more intimate question: What does it mean to bring a child into the world at this time of radical change?What emerges is a new kind of Antarctica story, one preoccupied not with flag planting but with the collective and challenging work of imagining a better future. With understanding the language of a continent where humans have only been present for two centuries. With the contributions and concerns of women, who were largely excluded from voyages until the last few decades, and of crew members of color, whose labor has often gone unrecognized. The Quickening teems with their voices--with the colorful stories and personalities of Rush's shipmates--in a thrilling chorus.Urgent and brave, absorbing and vulnerable, The Quickening is another essential book from Elizabeth Rush.

About the Author

Elizabeth Rush is the author of The Quickening: Creation and Community at the Ends of the Earth and Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Rush's work has appeared in a wide range of publications from the New York Times to Orion and Guernica. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Howard Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Metcalf Institute. She lives with her husband and son in Providence, Rhode Island, where she teaches creative nonfiction at Brown University.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781571313966
ISBN-10: 1571313966
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publication Date: August 15th, 2023
Pages: 424
Language: English