Mina is trying to find her lover. He’s missing, dead or on tour. She believes that the North West Passage is a magical portal, and that he may have fallen in to Asia. As the white space surrounding her begins to melt, she becomes increasingly lonely, cold and mad; she believes that the souls of the men who have died in the arctic are stalking her.
North as a place is no longer simply a nowhere land. No longer the wilderness, it still conceptually occupies a profound psychic space within Canadians as poetic myth, “The contexts of Canadian artists have in large part been historically mapped by place and the experience of inhabiting that place,” and according to author Sherill Grace in the book Canada and the Idea of North, “The idea of Canada and the idea of North are one and the same”
According to Margaret Atwood in Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature the representation of the North as female from a historic male position, and in particular Robert Service, is a ” complex imagery and story that has accumulated around the idea of North as a mean female – the sort of icy and savage femme fatale who will drive you crazy and claim you for your own.”
Mina has become Service’s North. Strange Things challenges to simultaneously embody and debunk the persona of the North that Robert Service created, and Atwood questioned.
Atwood, Margaret, Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature, (Oxford University Press, 1996).Grace, Sherrill, Canada and the Idea of North, (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002).