Reading Recommendation: THE GOLD COAST. AN ODYSSEY by Isabel Fargo Cole

Isabel Fargo Cole’s THE GOLD COAST was published two weeks ago and sold out on the spot. Mixing nature writing, narrative non-fiction and memoirs in a grandiose description of Alaska and the early age of the large scale exploitation of nature by men, THE GOLD COAST perfectly embodies the spirit of what made the success of Matthes & Seitz‘ NATURKUNDEN series.

  • a 4-page review in DIE Zeit!

What is really special about this book, which is as exciting as it is poetically narrated, is how Isabel Fargo Cole artfully interweaves nature and Alaska’s history with ethnological observations and her own biographical search„. – Alexander Cammann, DIE ZEIT

A fascinating journey through prospecting fields and nature reserves, a book about the myth of the American West Coast that promises wealth and freedom.

„My great-grandfather Arva Fargo had run off to Alaska to look for gold. He ran off to the Yukon. He ran off to the Klondike. A shard of history, dug out, put back perplexed.“ More than a hundred years after her ancestor, Isabel Fargo Cole sets off from Germany to Alaska, from there via Seattle towards California, on the trail of Arva Fargo and his feverish search for gold – the curse and blessing of so many biographies of the ‚Gilded Age‘ at the end of the 19th century. The ’shards of history‘ she finds, not only in the abandoned claims, she assembles into a polyphonic research and travel diary into a foreign, seemingly immeasurable land between East and West, between exploitation and preservation. For the world’s largest exclave, though sparsely populated, is occupied by fantasies of pristine wilderness and hidden riches like no other stretch of land. Cole’s expedition leads deep into the depths of the American dream, which still attracts and spits out crowds with its powerful promises: adventurous soldiers of fortune, vagabonds and heroes of faded newspaper reports. What she unearths is more valuable than gold: a narrative-essayistic prospecting field full of stories and reflections on a borderland of foreign homelands.