Ben's Reviews > Arctic Dreams

Arctic Dreams by Barry López
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's review
Aug 12, 2012

liked it
Read from September 17, 2011 to August 12, 2012

Lopez's writing style is almost as rarefied as the subject of his book itself. It took me nearly a year to finish Arctic Dreams as I had a rather on-again, off-again relationship with it. The book got off to a fast start, as I felt enthused vicariously through Lopez's own clear enthusiasm for the animals, landscape, and science of the Arctic even if I couldn't clearly see what he was talking about (e.g. the specific body parts of muskoxen).

The book lost its luster somewhere in the middle, as some of Lopez's digressions and "dreams" felt incoherent to me. I had to read several sentences and paragraphs several times before deciding I just wasn't going to get it and moving on. I couldn't help but chuckle when it seemed like I was reading double-talk. That said, there were definitely some moments of clarity when I was impressed with Lopez's thoughts and words he used to relay them.

I felt better about the book as I started getting into Lopez's narratives and ruminations on exploration, which was the last couple chapters. In the end, I found it hard to relate to some of Lopez's stronger opinions on the landscape, as in the end, isn't the desire for a relationship with anything, person, or place, merely just a human construct?

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