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Julius Verne needs no introduction as he is widely considered, along with H. G. Wells, the father of science fiction. We like to read and re-read his books. We have loved to explore with him the submerged and unknown worlds of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870),  seeing the world from above in Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), descending into an Icelandic volcano in Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864).

A few days ago, we got to receive via Bookmooch this little treasure: A Winter amid Ice. It is a short adventure novel by Jules Verne. It is not the most popular nor the greatest one; though we read it cover to cover. It is able to engage intensely the reader from the first pages. Sharing our view about it we take the opportunity to recall Verne’s life and tell you the reasons why we love this author so much.  

From lawyer to writer and explorer 

Jules Verne is born in 1828 in Nantes. Since very young he lives a difficult relationship with his father. He is a lawyer and this is the career path he would like his son to follow. Jules is instead fond of rhetoric and philosophy. However, after secondary school, his father decides to send him to Paris to study law. Once there, Jules takes advantage of this opportunity to spend as much time as he can at the National Library, reading and studying scientific and historical case studies. 

In 1850 his passion for literature takes over and since then he abandons the legal career to be a writer. In 1957 he marries a rich heiress, Honorine Morel. Thus he gets enough financial independence to dedicate himself entirely to the profession of writer. He travels a lot and his journeys will become the backgrounds of his numerous books: 62 novels and 17 short stories all written in an extraordinary style able to balance fantasy and scientific accuracy. 

A Winter amid Ice 

Like all his work, A Winter amid Ice is characterised by a particular accuracy which results from in-depth scientific research carried out before writing his stories.  This book is set in the North Pole and he can describe its landscape very accurately. Part of the plot develops on the remote and uninhabited island of Shannon in Greenland.

The sailor Jean Cornbutte sets sail towards the northern seas to save his son, lost in those lands. The tale of this adventure is enriched by romantic reflections and the descriptions of those extraordinary landscapes. Here, as in other Verne’s novels, the dimension of travelling is central. The journeys that he describes though are always more than a mere movement from place to place but they entail an inner quest. 

Reading Jules Verne 

Jules Verne is always a good read and we hope one day to be able to complete the reading of his entire Voyages extraordinaires. We love his stories because he writes in simple prose approaching the most remote and complex images in an accessible and direct way. His work represents a clear example of how literature can make us travel, exceeding the boundaries of what we know towards unknown and mysterious worlds.