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Cold Country Paperback – April 15, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bristol Classical Press (April 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715632078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715632079
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,228,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

GERRI BRIGHTWELL has lived in Spain, Thailand, Canada and the United States. She has worked as a cleaner, ice cream seller, sandwich-maker, pottery sponger, nanny and, most recently, a teacher of English and writing. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Uncle Mike on August 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
Good literature allows us to see the world through another person's eyes, to go places we can't go. I will never know what it's like to be a put-upon Brit dragged unwillingly to the wilds of Fairbanks, Alaska. But after reading "Cold Country", I have at least a glimmer of an idea.

Gerri Brightwell takes risks in her debut novel, risks that don't always pay off. The road trip that comprises the first third of the novel mimics all too well the tedium of a long journey with a moody companion in a run-down pickup. Neither Sandra nor Fleur seem likeable enough for us to care what happens to them at first.

But once the pair arrives in Fairbanks, things start to get interesting. What was the incident that turned the bright and resourceful Fleur into a hand-wringing nervous wreck? Exactly what promises did Fleur make to her family in Fairbanks? And now that Sandra's in Fairbanks, how will she ever get out?

Brightwell's defiance of convention is refreshing. Sandra is selfish, obstinate, self-deluding; she changes only when she must. Like the protagonist of a Victorian novel, she is a woman of diminished circumstances who must take a menial job in order to survive, and in order to grow up. But our expectations are curiously deflected; we expect Sandra to fall in love with a Brawny Alaskan from central casting, but it doesn't happen. We expect a Mysterious Benefactor to show up and hand Sandra an easy solution, but it doesn't happen. We expect Bob to meet an Untimely End in order to stoke up our sympathy (that doesn't happen either).

Sandra's wry sense of humor is the only thing that gets her through, and corny country music lyrics become the barometer of her state of mind. But mixed in with the humor is a grittiness and a sharpness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ashley Cowger on July 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. LOVED it. The first person narrator's voice is extremely engaging, and her journey to Alaska sucked me in from the first page. Flawed though she is, Sandra is a fascinating and entertaining character, and it's great fun walking around inside her head for the course of the book. Well crafted and engaging, the book is the debut novel from a writer of great promise. I plan to keep my eye out for any and all future books by Brightwell, and I recommend you do yourself a favor and do the same.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Querious George on December 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Writing about Alaska is harder than you'd think. The physical beauty can be both overwhelming and subtle to nth degree of white or gray. But the people whose traditions have bound them to the land and those who choose to live here are not always described well.

I think Gerri Brightwell made a good start. She caught the strength of those who have been raised here and their ability to survive. She describes cabin life with feeling and is not exaggerating the constant danger of living in the deep cold. She touched upon the interdependence of Alaskan families; in this story there are negative impacts, while I witness far more positive and necessary mutual support.

So, as a start, it begins to bring an image of Alaska to the foreground. Outside of Alaska as the setting, her prose is clean, the story line very believable, and offers satisfying growth in the characters. That alone makes the story worth reading.
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More About the Author

Gerri Brightwell was brought up in South Devon, England. After deciding a degree in zoology was not for her, she took up literature and art history, and lived on a narrow boat in Bristol. Since then she has roamed more widely, working in Spain, Thailand, Canada and the United States. She has worked as a cleaner, ice-cream seller, sandwich-maker, pottery sponger, editor, nanny and, most recently, a teacher of writing and literature.

She has master's degrees in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, plus a doctorate in literature from the University of Minnesota. Her novel, The Dark Lantern, has been published in North America, Australia, New Zealand and Italty, and tells the story of a maid and her mistress in a nineteenth-century household full of secrets. Her first novel, Cold Country, was published by Duckworth in 2003 and is set in Alaska.

Gerri lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, with her husband, fantasy novelist Ian Cameron Esslemont, and their three sons. She teaches in the creative writing programme at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.