December 13, 2022
We can't all be heroes. Some try and succeed. Others posture and pretend. And a few--just a few--set off on their hero's quest only to discover that failure was within them all along.
Murray Lee's Compass (Publerati, 2022) recounts the adventures of a man who, after traveling the world shilling stories for a major geographic magazine about historic expeditions and explorers, sets out on an adventure of his own--an ill-advised and poorly planned trip to the Arctic floe edge under the disorienting twenty-four-hour summer sun. When the ice breaks and his guide disappears, the narrator ends up alone and adrift in the hostile northern sea. He draws on his knowledge of historic expeditions to craft his own, inept, attempt at survival. As time passes and he becomes increasingly disoriented, his obsession with Sedna, the Inuit goddess of the sea, becomes terrifyingly real.
Part Life of Pi, part Into the Wild, Compass draws heavily on true historical adventures, Inuit mythology, and its Arctic setting. The narrator, a self-aware buffoon who remains nameless throughout, is both remarkably well-informed and entirely useless. He knows just enough to steer himself into the path of disaster--repeatedly, often comically, and ultimately tragically.