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Short Story Review: "Antarctica" by Laura van den Berg

“In Antarctica,” the reader is told, “there was nothing to identify because there was nothing left.”

But Lee comes to Antarctica anyway to find out what she can about her brother’s death. A researcher, he’d been killed in an explosion—an accident, nobody’s fault—and all the rescuers have been able to find of him is blood-stained watch and an as-yet unidentified tibia.

“We were close,” she tells the man who’s been assigned to act as her guide. She says it more than once.

Lee and her brother were close. Lee was like a sister to his wife, Eve. Eve has a secret she told Lee, but not her husband. Lee decided to keep Eve’s secret.

The story is not long on why of anything, but it is stark and sad, and one does get the feeling of having been to Antarctica or at least someplace extremely cold. This is quite well written, but also, one is listening to a story, not so much witnessing art for the sake of art. Just the same, it is all quite sad.

According to the Contributors’ Notes Laura van den Berg has a short story collection out and a novel forthcoming. She received the Rosenthal Family Award from the American Academy for Arts and Letters. She says the story grew out of her fascination with Antarctica and a news story she read about a 2012 explosion at the Comandate Ferrez research base at Admiralty Bay in which two men were killed.


Title: “Antarctica”

Published in: Best American Short Stories 2014

First Published: Glimmer Train Issue 88 Fall 2013

Author: Laura van den Berg



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MegL wrote on June 27, 2015, 5:16 PM

That sounds an interesting story to read. I have seen collections of "Best ... stories". Maybe this is an updated one, because the books I read contained stories by Edgar Allan Poe and similar

msiduri wrote on June 27, 2015, 5:25 PM

This was one of the better stories in the book, IMHO. The best stories come out yearly. 2015 won't be out at least until after Jan. 2016.

MelissaE wrote on June 28, 2015, 7:22 PM

These collections are often free on Amazon.

msiduri wrote on June 28, 2015, 11:07 PM

You're right, a lot of collections are. This one, however, is not.