Cold Oceans

Turk, Jon
Year Published: 

"From its opening passages, Jon Turk's Cold Oceans chronicles explorations in both exterior and interior landscapes. In honest, accessible prose, Turk retraces more than two decades of his varied and stirring adventures--attempting to round Cape Horn solo in a kayak, rowing the Northwest Passage, dogsledding the east coast of Baffin Island, and kayaking from Ellesmere Island to Greenland. As Turk plunges headlong through icy seas, repeated and assorted blunders, and bouts of personal lows, he transcends mere adventure storytelling to explore a changing notion of himself, deepening relationships, and the nature of failure and true success. These passages contain some of Cold Oceans's greatest riches.

With a host of explorers along as inspirational and literary companions, Turk evokes a landscape of life and history intertwined. After a daring 15-hour crossing to Greenland, Turk wrestles with polar explorer Robert Peary's notion of success, defined by fame and fortune, concluding, ""What mattered was that he [Peary] communicated his passion to the world."" And this is the success that Turk has achieved in Cold Oceans.

Although the saga of choosing a life of adventure to stave off a more rooted and standard existence may seem a common tale, it is Turk's contemplation of this lifestyle choice that offers some of the book's finest insights. Ultimately, Turk's wanderings reveal how a thirst for adventure can at once drive, fragment, and unify a life. This incongruity is perhaps one of a traveler's greatest ponderings, and Cold Oceans confronts it boldly, piercing the heart of what it means to adventure."