Friday, December 2, 2016

The North Water

Cold. Ian McGuire’s novel titled, The North Water, made me shiver for many reasons. The action takes place on a whaling ship heading to the Artic in the 1850s, so the physical setting is frigid. The characters present dark and cold elements from a captain considered unlucky by his crew, to a murderer, to a surgeon brooding over his past. McGuire matches his prose to the setting and the characters: sharp, bitter cold, penetrating language. There’s no nostalgia for the good old days of some idealized past as we find in much historical fiction. McGuire presents a harsh time with hard people fighting for survival. On deeper levels, McGuire injects a notion of resurrection that I found was a pathway to escape the cold and darkness facing readers on every page. Fans of finely written literary fiction are those most likely to enjoy this well-crafted novel. A huge bonus was the suspense in the plot which made my heart beat faster, and warm me from the coldness of the page. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase The North Water from

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