In 1897, three adventurers gather to do what others have tried and failed to do - navigate their balloon, The Prinzess, to the North Pole and return. As they voyage, the narrator, Major Gustav Crispin, is haunted by thoughts of the beautiful, impetuous Luisa.
The story is a deliciously entertaining mix of adventure, sexual intrigue, philosophy and science. Harris based his story on an actual attempt by three Swedish explorers to reach the pole by balloon in 1897.
MacDonald Harris wrote The Balloonist in the 1970s and it was published with huge acclaim in 1976. Indeed it was runner-up in the National Book Award fiction prize the following year. Then, in the 1980s, it disappeared into obscurity and remained there until Philip Pullman sang its praises in The Observer in 2008.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - mrlzbth - LibraryThing
The book jacket description and the quote from Philip Pullman about not being able to stop turning pages once one starts reading this book led me to expect a very different type of story--a literary ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - JenneB - LibraryThing
WTF. The only reason I gave this two stars was because the ending, where everyone dies, was extremely satisfying. Read full review