Albanov’s narrative raised a whole list of new issues for us to discuss, being an altogether different type of narrative than any of the others we’ve read. Its answer to our “why climb/adventure?” question is especially interesting, adding a new wrinkle to an already fairly complicated line of thought. This setting is also more familiar to me than the mountain narratives, having read tons of maritime fiction and nonfiction narratives (which almost always have a survival element of some sort). This story seemed like an interesting arctic variation of William Bligh’s Mutiny on the HMS Bounty narrative, although it had a few notable differences. The one that stuck out the most to me was the impersonal nature of Albanov’s writing, as he seems to mention his fellow travelers by name as little as possible, and certainly doesn’t introduce us to them or develop them as literary characters. Other than short personal descriptions of comrades like Nilsen upon their deaths, he really doesn’t seem too occupied or interested in his team, at least as a storyteller. He spends significantly more time and ink discussing the state of their sledges, the wild animals and even their ration of biscuits than he does describing his teammates in their quest for rescue. At the end of the narrative I was actually surprised to learn that only he and Konrad survived, because that seems like, as the final surviving pair, they would have bonded enough for Albanov to talk about their friendship. The epilogue about Konrad’s diary points to a parallel impersonality from his perspective, as his diary only once identifies Albanov by name rather than by title. I don’t know if this stoic impersonality relates to their determination to survive, their Russian upbringing or elements of seafaring culture, but it seemed odd to me, especially in comparison to previous team-oriented narratives we’ve read, especially Blum or Krakauer.