Inspired by the story of Svalbard’s first female trapper, Cold Coast is a gripping portrayal of survival within the stark beauty and perilous wilderness of the high Arctic
In 1932, Wanny Woldstad, a young widow, travels to Svalbard, daring to enter the Norwegian trappers’ fiercely guarded male domain. She must prove to Anders Sæterdal, her trapping partner who makes no secret of his disdain, that a woman is fit for the task. Over the course of a Svalbard winter, Wanny and Sæterdal will confront polar bears, traverse glaciers, withstand blizzards and the dangers of sea ice, and hike miles to trap Arctic fox, all in the frigid darkness of the four-month polar night. For Wanny, the darkness hides her own deceptions that, if exposed, speak to the untenable sacrifice of a 1930s woman longing to fulfil a dream.
Alongside the raw, confronting nature of the trappers’ work, is the story of a young blue Arctic fox, itself a hunter, who must eke out a living and navigate the trappers’ world if it is to survive its ﬁrst Arctic winter.
‘Robyn Mundy’s Cold Coast is a remarkable achievement. It tells Woldstad’s story in a gorgeously intimate prose, with page after page of stunning nature writing.’
‘Cold Coast summons the raw beauty of Svalbard with achingly evocative prose. At once visceral and lyrical, I was totally absorbed in the story of Wanny Woldstad and her yearning for wilder freedoms.’
Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rites
‘Rarely has a book been so evocative of time and place. At once transporting and unsentimental, Cold Coast is as bracing as the arctic winds that sweep through its world. Its truths about love, endurance, and courage are visceral and above all exhilarating, even as death hovers unsettlingly near.'
Lucy Treloar, author of Salt Creek
‘An exquisitely written, immersive novel about wildness, survival, and the incomparable exhilaration of choosing a bigger life. I was captivated from start to finish.’
Emily Maguire, author of An Isolated Incident and Love Objects
About the author
Wild places form a big part of Robyn Mundy’s life, and her novels. Robyn has wintered and summered in Antarctica, the setting for her first novel The Nature of Ice. Her second novel Wildlight is set on remote Maatsuyker Island, home to Australia's loneliest lighthouse where she spent ten months. For over 20 years Robyn has worked seasonally as a ship-based tour guide in Svalbard, Greenland, Antarctica, the Norwegian coast and wild Scotland. Her numerous visits to Svalbard led to her 2021 novel Cold Coast. Robyn lives in Tasmania with a penguin biologist and a Blue Heeler. Visit her website at www.writingthewild.net and Instagram at robyncmundy.