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The Northern Lights Hardcover – March, 1987


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Summit Books; 1st edition (March 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671532316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671532314
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,545,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Barrry Lopez . . . The Nothern Lights is a starlingly fresh work, an innocent and humorous story about the fundamental strangeness of life."—Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams

"The Northern Lights is an original, entertaining account of a boy's coming of age . . . vivid and memorable."—The Washington Post

"Howard Norman's prose sparkles like light on new snow and makes The Northern Lights a shimmering tale."—Boston Herald

"This entertaining first novel has depth and resonance . . . a striking achievement."—The New York Times

"A warm and full-hearted book . . . struck through with a sweet and compelling light."—Louise Erdrich

"This is Howard Norman's first novel . . . an entirely unforeseeable book and an entirely indispensable one."—Los Angeles Times

"Howard Norman has evoked the lonely reaches of northern Canada to tell of the Cree and French community there . . . An endearing little gem."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Funny, inconsolable, tender, risk-taking . . . a book like the first tracks on a field of new soil."—Ursula K. Le Guin

"This gentle, stylistically inventive novel is fresh as wintergreen . . . enchanting, replete with gentle whimsy and haunting evocative prose. It is a significant achievement."—Detroit News

"Does cultural imperialism know no limits? Here's an American author who presuimes to write about . . . our very own north country . . . and, what is worse, does a wonderful job of it . . . Unforgettable."—Toronto Sunday Star

"The Northern Lights is a fresh work that is rich in its characterization, crisp in its thought, deft in its use of place, and original in tis imagery . . . It succeeds brilliantly."—Worcester Evening Gazette

"Almost everything in this first novel is perfect . . . The Northern Lights has a sweet warmth that makes it a book to treasure."—People
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Howard Norman is also a National Book Award finalist for The Bird Artist. His other works include The Museum Guard, The Chauffeur, a collection of stories, and The Haunting of L., his most recent novel. He received a Lannan Award in fiction. He resides in Vermont and Washington D.C.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

HOWARD NORMAN is a three-time winner of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and a winner of the Lannan Award for fiction. His 1987 novel, The Northern Lights, was nominated for a National Book Award, as was his 1994 novel The Bird Artist. He is also author of the novels The Museum Guard, The Haunting of L, and Devotion. His books have been translated into twelve languages. Norman teaches in the MFA program at the University of Maryland. He lives in Washington, D.C., and Vermont with his wife and daughter.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a fantanstic book. Norman tells a story very well; his clean beautiful writing style evokes the northern remote wilderness settlements vividly. In this setting, two young boys become great friends, and their relationship grows as they do. This book reminded me of A Separate Peace, with a Canadian edge and tone. It compelled me to read The Bird Artist -- also terrific.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
I picked up this novel in part to see if Norman's wonderfully written novel The Museum Guard was a fluke. I can say emphatically that it was not. The Northern Lights is Norman's first novel, but his prose reads like a veteran writer's. Rich with the details, personal habits, quirks, and eccentricities that make up real people, Lights is basically a coming of age story set in 1950s and 1960s northern Canada. As with The Museum Guard, Norman's characters are driven by strange tragedy. In The Museum Guard, the main character's parents are killed in a Zeppelin accident; in the Northern Lights, Noah's best friend Pelly is killed when his unicycle breaks through the ice. This sets in motion a series of events that forces Noah to adjust to the loss of his friend, and come to grips with his wandering father and lonely mother, who is obsessed with the story of Noah's ark to the point of illness. Unlike with the animals on the ark, Norman shows us that sometimes people have no companion, and must survive alone, even when surrounded by people who love them. The Cree Indians are richly drawn, and provide a touchstone--a remembrance of Pelly--when Noah moves to Toronto and befriends a family of Cree. Told in shifting chronology, the story draws the reader back and forth from action to reaction to an ending that will leave you ready for another Norman novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cecil Bothwell VINE VOICE on November 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
A splendid novel about loss and recovery set in the northern wilderness territories of Manitoba and Toronto. Toronto? Wilderness is where you find it, like its cohorts, isolation and companionship. Voices on a radio, faces on a screen, a unicycle on the ice and a once mythical hermit, the real world and the imaginary intertwine in this story about a broken family living alone in a land of water and frost. There are interior distances less navigable than the vast expanse of sub-arctic forest and marsh, harder to understand and more forbidding. The reader follows the narrator, Noah, from late childhood to early manhood, reassembling the puzzle of his life. Characters of warmth and depth people this land out beyond the popcorn machine and the cardboard cutouts of movie stars in the cinema lobby of the Northern Lights.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Noah Mass (noahdmass@msn.com) on May 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
I picked up THE NORTHERN LIGHTS after having read Norman's superb second novel, THE BIRD ARTIST, and was disappointed. Although reviews were strong for this book, and I believe it was a National Book Award finalist, it felt like an apprentice effort to me. The characters and situations were strange--as they often were in THE BIRD ARTIST--but not nearly as compelling. The plot was loose and slippery, and didn't cohere by the end of the novel. It felt like Norman was trying too hard to be obscure and poetic. This is a mediocre first novel, but does hint at the wonderful things to come. Now go read THE BIRD ARTIST.
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