British polar explorer Sara Wheeler reviews Erling Kagge’s latest book, ‘Silence, In the Age of Noise‘.
Kagge is the Norwegian explorer who some 50 years ago walked solo across the Antarctica, making him the first person to walk alone to the South Pole.
Twenty-five years ago, the Norwegian adventurer Erling Kagge trekked solo across Antarctica without a radio (actually, the aviation company that flew him to the coast insisted that he take one, and he did—but he dumped the batteries in the plane’s trash bin). The experience of being alone for 50 days inspired this book: a meditation on the need for, and meaning of, silence.
As the subtitle (“In the Age of Noise”) indicates, the notion of cultivating silence is mightily unfashionable as well as hard to achieve. Mr. Kagge began by asking himself the questions: “What is silence? Where is it? Why is it more important now than ever?” He reckons that he came up with 33 “attempts at answering them.”