Polar Dream

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Helen Thayer had dreamed of journeying to the North Pole sinceshe was a child. After many years of mountaineering, includingclimbing the highest peaks in North and South America and theSoviet Union, she decided the time had come for a new challenge. After two years of preparation and planning, Thayer set out tobecome the first woman to ski alone to the North Pole. She wasfifty years old.

Three days before the start of her journey, Thayer made alast-minute decision to acquire a big, black husky as companion anddefense against polar bears. It was a decision that almostcertainly saved her life. Charlie was to share her adventuresthrough 345 grueling miles of arctic travel on foot and skis.

Together they faced windchills of 100 degrees below zero,powerful, fearless, hungry polar bears, breaking sea ice thattilted under their feet, threatening a fatal slide into the darksea under the polar ice cap, howling arctic storms that blew theirfood and equipment into oblivion, and, during the final week of thetwenty-seven-day journey, dehydration and starvation.

Thayer faced not only physical challenges but also mind-numbingfear and overwhelming feelings of insignificance and isolation inthe midst of the desolate beauty of the arctic. Simply andmodestly, she describes the emotional discipline, determination,and sheer courage with which she met her many challenges. Crucialto her survival and perseverance was the intimate relationshipbetween Thayer and her dog, Charlie.

Few of us will undertake such a journey, and yet Thayer’s bookis of universal interest. Whatever daily challenges the reader mayface, he or she can draw much inspiration from Thayer’s determined,quiet courage, and will surely cheer this remarkable woman right tothe last exhausted but triumphant step of her realized POLARDREAM.