Thinking Like an Iceberg

Original title: Penser comme un Iceberg

Author: Remaud, Olivier

Publication Date:

October 2020



Original language and publisher

French | Actes Sud

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia

Territories Sold

Spanish (World) (Gallo Nero)
English (World) (Polity)



Thinking Like an Iceberg

Original title: Penser comme un Iceberg

Author: Remaud, Olivier


This book is a voyage of initiation into fascinating secret worlds. We hear the crunch of the snow, the cracking of the ice floes and the whoosh of icebergs scything through the ocean. We are cast onto glacial mountainsides, plunged into frozen waters. The iceberg breathes through our every pore as its vast mass glides through our very beings. The iceberg is within us and among us.

When we imagine icebergs and the Arctic tundra we see a world of motionless mountains of ice, trapped beneath a thick carpet of snow. Icebergs drift listlessly through the frozen waters, eternal solitary wanderers of the South amid total silence. All is ice. No soul alive. Nothing however could be further from the truth.

This work takes us into the secret world of the south and its frozen wilderness to consider it with new open eyes. Olivier Remaud takes us on a journey behind the cliché of immobility and lifelessness frozen in time to a place swarming with life. In his account, icebergs become essential actors in the food chain, biological Noah’s arcs. The ice floes suddenly become alive with sound and their deafening roar returns.

We also discover the inhabitants of these frozen masses as they solve the dilemmas of their glacial existences. Icebergs are living entities, not things but agents and partners in the social of species and ecosystems. Confronted by the phenomenon of glacial melting all over the globe and the challenge of global warming, Olivier Remaud resituates the human being within the planet’s ecosystems including those that might seem inert.

He invites us to “think like an iceberg”. Icebergs are an important emblem of wildlife, antidotes to our narcissism. They remind us that everywhere is teeming with life, even in the apparently most inhabitable climes, and he encourages us to exercise more discretion in order to coexist with the planet’s swarming life forms.