LAST PLACES: A JOURNEY IN THE NORTH begins with Millman traveling in Turkey on a ferry from Istanbul to Trabzon, where he meets a trawler captain from Iceland. With this chance encounter, the seed has been planted for an extensive journey into the North Atlantic region. Millman points out that he is drawn to places that are on the edge of the civilized world. The more remote the place, the more Millman wants to investigate what makes it tick. He throws himself into the experience with enthusiasm, no matter what hardships he has to endure. The Viking route takes him from Norway to the Shetland Islands, the Faeroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland, and back to his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Each of these “last places” has a unique story to tell. Millman tries as best he can to encounter each locale as naturally as possible. Whatever works for the local inhabitants is good enough for the author. The people are a hearty lot, or else they would not survive the inhospitable natural conditions of the North Atlantic area. They also have wonderful stories to tell--which Millman lets them recount in their own eccentric way. The myths that have been handed down from generation to generation are marvelously retold. The icy and desolate landscape has molded the people who inhabit it. They are at the mercy of the environment, as opposed to the “civilized” world where man has nature under his thumb. Millman’s descriptions are vivid, whether the subject is being dive-bombed by skuas, dining on boiled seal meat, or swapping dysentery stories. LAST PLACES includes tragedy as well as humor: In the harsh world of the North Atlantic, death can come quickly. Millman has written a marvelous tribute to the spirit of the area. When the difficult journey is over, he cannot wait to venture off again in search of more “last places.”