Past and present come together as, in the course of one day, a twenty-first century woman explores her own marriage and life and that of her ancestors, an Arctic adventurer and the wife he leaves at home. The pages of the book appear to have more white space than usual, perhaps in sympathy with the Arctic settings, which seems to carry through to the sense of the book.
Julia casts herself out into the white expanse that would swallow his story for more than half a century. There are pages in the diary that are water-stained, the ink leached pale; places near the end where there is only the barest trace of graphite; but as she turns it slowly, we can still make out the words, although parts are indistinct. And for us there is always the liberty of what may be conjecture, even if Julia, supine on the chaise, struggling against her own legends, does her best to reject it.