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To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel Hardcover – August 2, 2016
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An Amazon Best Book of August 2016: I’m just going to say it: Eowyn Ivey can really write. For those who read The Snow Child this statement comes as no surprise. In To the Bright Edge of the World, her second novel, Ivey manages to turn an adventure set in Alaska into much more. The book begins with a contemporary relative donating to a small museum the journals and other artifacts from an 1885 expedition. The journals were written by his great-uncle, Colonel Alan Forrester, and his great-aunt, Sophie. While we read about Alan’s accounts of his full-on Alaskan adventure, we are also introduced to Sophie’s struggles back in Vancouver. Each experiences a shift in the prism through which they see reality—Sophie takes up photography, and Alan begins to develop a more wild view of the world around him. Read it for the adventure. Read it for the time you’ll spend thinking about it long after you’ve turned the last page. --Chris Schluep, The Amazon Book Review
Praise for TO THE BRIGHT EDGE OF THE WORLD:
"To the Bright Edge of the World moves seamlessly through different times and different voices to depict an often harrowing journey that leads the central characters to question all that they 'have known as real & true.' Ivey's novel is a dazzling depiction of love, endurance, courage, and wonder, and a worthy successor to The Snow Child."
―Ron Rash, author of Serena
"Beautifully told...a page-turner, a fascinating story that is broad in its scope as it is compassionate in its message...Ivey has created a world that is dangerous and beautiful, worrisome and satisfying, all in a novel that readers will not soon forget."
―Jim Carmin, The Miami Herald
"Powerful...Ivey is a gifted storyteller and a lyrical prose stylist...remarkable."
―Amy Greene, New York Times Book Review
"An epic adventure story that seems heir to the tradition of Melville's own sweeping and ambitious literary approach to the age-old struggle of humans versus nature...an absorbing and high-stakes read."
―Kathleen Rooney, The Chicago Tribune
"To the Bright Edge of the World is a glorious feast of American mythology. In it, Eowyn Ivey's Alaska blooms vast and untouchable, bulging with mystery and wonder, and lit by an uneasy midnight sun. On this haunted stage, the lines between man and beast are blurred, and Ivey has etched her most compelling characters: the incorruptible, determined Sophie Forrester, who wrestles with the rules of men and polite society; and her husband, the explorer Allen Forrester, who struggles mightily against the uncivilized Alaskan wilderness with its ragged teeth. Gorgeously written, utterly un-put-downable, To the Bright Edge of the World sweeps its reader to the very brink of known territory, and presents that bright edge in stark relief: gleaming, serrated, unforgiving. As with The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey has once again written a magical, breathtaking novel that I just cannot put out of my mind."
―Jason Gurley, author of Eleanor
"An exceptionally well-turned adventure tale...Heartfelt, rip-snorting storytelling."
―Kirkus (Starred Review)
"Eowyn Ivey is a deft craftswoman, attentive to the shape and heft of her sentences...[she] fashions characters who come to warm and vivid life against her frozen Alaskan landscapes...What could be a better beach read than an arctic adventure?"
―Geraldine Brooks, Guardian (US Edition)
"A stunning and intriguing novel combining the epic adventurous sweep of Alaska with minutely beautifully observed details--the reader finishes it wiser and richer."
―Rosamund Lupton, author of Sister and The Quality of Silence
"All the pleasures of a great novel are here--the well-crafted sentence, the deft pacing, the compelling plot, and characters that we care passionately about. Add to those already significant achievements a few eerie hints of the supernatural, some nail-biting mystery/thriller drama, the understanding that's gained from historically accurate details, and the endorphin rush of a love story. And then consider that the novel's construction provides yet another pleasure, the pleasure of the puzzle, as the reader gets to participate in the assemblage of journal entry, letter, drawing, and artifact, therefore co-creating this epic Alaskan adventure. How can one novel contain such richness? Eowyn Ivey is a wonder."
―Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
"An entrancing, occasionally chilling, depiction of turn-of-the-century Alaska...In this splendid adventure novel, Ivey captures Alaska's beauty and brutality, not just preserving history, but keeping it alive."
―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Ivey deftly draws the reader into the perils of the journey...a compelling historical saga of survival."
―Booklist (Starred Review)
"Ivey not only makes [this novel] work, she makes it work magnificently...The Snow Child (a lovely retelling of an old Russian folk tale), was a runaway hit, an international best seller, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her second work is even better."―Library Journal, (Starred Review)
"Ivey's characters, without exception, are skillfully wrought and pull the narrative forward with little effort. She does not stoop to blanket depictions of tribal life or Victorian women, and instead has created a novel with all of the fine details that make historical fiction such an adventure to read. Fans of The Snow Child will not be disappointed."―Meganne Fabrega, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Lustrous...Ivey's writing is assured and deftly paced. She presents a pleasing chorus of voices and writing styles in an amalgam of journals, letters, newspaper clippings, greeting cards, official reports and more...The couple's moving love story binds the multilayered narrative together...Ivey's first novel, The Snow Child, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and her follow-up act is certain to garner its own accolades as readers discover its many unfolding pleasures."―David Takami, Seattle Times
"An 1880's Alaskan adventure that really delivers...a rip-roaring frontier adventure."
―Ellen Hoffman, Business Insider
"Raises the personal stakes and the emotional payoff to impressive new levels...a stunning and subtle performance...This is enchanted writing."
―Steve Donoghue, The Christian Science Monitor
"An American masterpiece...beautifully written, fast-paced, wide-ranging, historically-based, and creatively imagined and structured...It delivers in all the ways a great novel should...deserves every accolade it will surely receive."
―Nancy Lord, Alaska Dispatch News
"Ivey's simultaneous wide scope and focus on detail are part of what makes this novel so absorbing. It's no mere testosterone-fueled tale of heroism. Her narrative encompasses, however fleetingly, the girls and women at the margins."
―Laura Collins-Hughes, The Boston Globe
"Read it for the adventure. Read it for the time you'll spend thinking about it long after you've turned the last page."
―Erin Kodicek, Omnivoracious
"Spellbinding...a cracking adventure that pulses with emotional power and a brutal kind of beauty...brings history and folklore to life in a visceral and utterly beguiling way."
―Stephanie Harrison, Bookpage, Top Pick in Fiction for August
"A riveting story of adventure, mystery and love...Ivey populates her novel with rich supporting characters...a spellbinding Pacific Northwest historic fiction."
"This rich blend of adventure bravado and contemplative memoir, past and present, reinvigorates the idea of a historical novel."
―The National Book Review
"You feel the excitement and the wonder that [the characters] are experiencing. This is another magical novel from her [Ivey]."
"A terrific example of why we love these stories of man-against-nature. But it also aspires to be something more...it's evident from Ivey's two books that she is also interested in the inexplicable magic of the world--real or imagined--that hovers just beyond our conscious perceptions. And so, while she is certainly deft at conveying the 'gray rivers that roar down from the glaciers, mountains & spruce valleys,' she is equally at home dropping a sea monster into those waters...To the Bright Edge of the World is a moving, surprising story. The Artic Addict in me is very grateful that Ivey wrote it."―Chris Bohjalian, The Washington Post
"An epic adventure intertwined with a story of genuine love."
―Shawna Seed, The Dallas Morning News
"Beautifully done...you'll get lost in the details and become engrossed in the love story playing out...Simply wonderful, and I cannot recommend it enough."
―Amy Gwiazdowski, BookReporter
"It's safe to say that Ivey fans will not be disappointed by this spine-tingling romantic odyssey."
―David Fox, Anchorage Press
"The real journey in Eowyn Ivey's new novel transcends the physical landscape to a netherworld of magical, mysterious and sometimes diabolical proportions."―Betty J. Cotter, Providence Journal
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a riveting novel by such a gifted writer. I'm glad to have come across Ivey. Though I have not read her first novel, this one is so full, but not overstuffed with detail -- it... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Dawn Killen-Courtney
It has been years since I have read such a phenomenal work. The prose is as brilliantly detailed as the landscape it inhabits. This is a novel I will return to again and again. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Ibsen Freak
I loved this story these characters and the author's prose and "voice". Though fiction, this expedition and surrounding story felt very real. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Suki
To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
by Eowyn Ivey (Author), John Glouchevitch (Reader)
In 1885 Lieutenant Colonel Allen... Read more
Beautiful writing that transports you to another world and timePublished 2 days ago by Kindle Customer
Excellent book. I really enjoyed it and I am sure you will enjoy it too. Well worth reading. Order it now.Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is a fascinating look at life in the post Civil War era in the Pacific northwest and the exploration of Alaska by the US military. Read morePublished 6 days ago by L. Rhoades
After reading The Snow Child I couldn't wait for Ms. Ivey's next book and it was certainly worth the wait. A wonderful mix of historical fiction with historical fact! Read morePublished 6 days ago by Bob Joyner