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To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel Hardcover – August 2, 2016

4.6 out of 5 stars 130 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition, First Printing edition (August 2, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316242853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316242851
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Its hard to not talk about this book without using superlatives, but in the classic sense of the word "To the Bright Edge of the World" is a masterpiece and I'm positive it will forever be iconic of the literary traditions of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. But please do not take my word for it; I encourage all to discover the novel for themselves because I do have a personal bias in my assessment.

I'm an Alaskan myself and have had the privilege of meeting Ivey when this novel wasin development, and while her interest in Alaska's cultures from past to present isn't an uncommon quality of our writers and artists, the way she cares about what it means to listen to the prism of voices and experiences of so many people and how she masterfully honors them through the eyes of her characters is a rarity that I have yet to see any other Alaskan writer skillfully command.

Coming from my indigenous perspective, it's through the novel's honest joining of past and present that a romantic sense of place and history even larger than the relationship between Forresters themselves develops, and in a rare feat it seamlessly includes the perspectives of Alaska's first people rather than ornamentalizes them merely as mysterious and unpredictable features of a 19th century wilderness environment.

For the first time there is now a piece of literature I can say perfectly sketches the conceptual bridge between the Alaska then and the Alaska now, and how the challenges of yesterday's generations sows the seeds of life and new challenges today.
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Format: Hardcover
Alaskan author Eowyn Ivey’s first novel, The Snow Child, set in 1920’s Alaska, was a runaway success, eagerly enjoyed by many.

So her second novel was going to be one arriving with very high expectations indeed

She does not disappoint, though this is a different kind of book, the mythic elements exist as more unexplained, puzzling and unresolved for her characters,. And in many ways, writing something a little different has been a good choice. Ivey clearly is not just a one trick pony of a writer

Ivey stays with her home state, one whose landscape and culture clearly deeply resonate for her, and are in her sinews.

To The Bright Edge Of The World is fiction, but reads much more like history. For a start, there is the structure of the novel, set for the most part in 1885, and being the journals of Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester, and his journey from Perkins Island up the Wolverine River, as part of an opening up of Alaska, not only for the sourcing of gold and copper, but for transport, settlements and trade. Forrester’s quite terrifying and challenging journey through an isolated, beautiful and dangerous landscape is intercut with the diary written by his young wife, Sophie, left behind in Vancouver Barracks, Washington Territory, to wait for her husband’s return, which is likely to take a year. There are also other journals from Lieutenant Pruitt, one of Forrester’s party, whose role is to manage various scientific instruments to record the weather, and also, with photography as a fairly new medium, to curate a visual record of the ground-breaking journey.
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Format: Hardcover
Thank you again, Eowyn. I also had the privilege of being the first to review this authoress's first novel, The Snow Child. I am her father-in-law. To the Bright Edge of the World is memorable and magnificent. With The Snow Child, Eowyn was one of three finalists for a Pulitzer prize in fiction writing. Though she did not win with that book, she will with this one.

In order to write this book, Eowyn had to do a massive amount of research. She began by learning to speak in a way that was compatible with the expressions of those who lived a hundred and thirty years ago. Next, she established the setting of this book to reflect the situation of humanity at that time in history. For example, the camera was just coming into common usage, and Indian wars were going on. Having placed herself in 1885, she then had to be exquisitely careful not to commit any anachronisms. For example, she had to learn about the workings of primitive cameras and the terminology that was used to describe them. We are treated with a run down on the mechanisms of the 1885 camera, including the chemicals used for development of photographs and the conditions under which these had to be taken. Another example is that she had to be careful not to place any soldier into a scheme of army organization that did not exist. After that, she had to write convincing letters written in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, again in the proper language and without anachronisms. One slip, and the entire edifice of this spectacular book would have become suspect.

I am crazy about the spookiness of this book, particularly in conjunction with the blurring of differences between man and beast as one penetrates more and more deeptly into the wilds of 1885 Alaska.
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