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Search tags: to-the-bright-edge-of-the-world
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review 2018-01-30 23:47
To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel - Eowyn Ivey

Look! It’s another book by Eowyn Ivey! OMG, yay! I just could not wait for this book to come out. Loved, loved, loved The Snow Child so much! 

To the Bright Edge of the World unfolds through the eyes of Joshua Sloan. As an exhibits curator at the Alpine Historical Museum in Alaska, he has been corresponding with Walter Forrester who has journals, letters and artifacts from his great-uncle Allen Forrester’s 1885 expedition across Alaska. As Joshua reads through the materials Walter shares with him, a great story in the tradition of Lewis and Clark unfolds.

Lieutenant Allen Forrester is chosen by the U.S. government to lead a reconnaissance team into Alaska and travel up the Wolverine River. His job is to map the territory, document the weather and record information about the native tribes. In addition, they are to ascertain how a military force would gain access to the region if the necessity were to arise. The last white men to attempt the Wolverine River territory were the Russians, who were killed by the Indians. Forrester is deemed the perfect man for the job as he won a medal when he led his regiment in a conflict with the Apache Indians. 

Forrester is a bit reluctant to accept the offer though. He is newly married to Sophie and they are expecting their first child. His wife Sophie also does not relish the prospect of being without her husband for a long period and having the baby arrive while he is gone. Nevertheless, duty calls and Forrester does accept the mission. Between his diary and letters to and from Sophie we learn of the hardships that Forrester and his party faced on the journey through Alaska. They faced severe weather, harsh landscape, low food stores and encounters with the natives. The mystical beliefs of the natives are woven throughout the tale but with Forrester being a no-nonsense sort of man, he doesn’t buy into their superstitious ways. Meanwhile, at home Sophie is worried about her pregnancy and she also takes up an interesting new hobby. 

What comes to mind when reviewing this book is that history shows us over and over that men were always exploring other countries, and oftentimes looking to conquer them. But why is it that these men always thought their way was the right way? Throughout the world, men came along and forced themselves upon an already existing culture and immediately start trying to change the things that didn’t conform to their beliefs. It’s been done time and time again. The native cultures’ belief systems often offered up new and magical ways to look at the world. Sadly enough, very little of that remains in modern times. 

I was somewhat surprised at the subject matter of this book when compared to The Snow Child. But when I think about it, it seems that Ivey is just giving us another glimpse of the home that she loves. This book is set 35 years later and is yet another portrait of the beauty and wildness of Alaska. While it’s not exactly the book I anticipated when I looked forward to Eowyn Ivey’s next book so eagerly, Ivey is such a magical writer and this is a very interesting foray into the early history of Alaska. I love Ivey’s style of writing! She manages to weave a tale that is based on a real-life military expedition and sprinkle magic touches in along the way! It’s not often that you see such a mixture and this author manages to leave you with a lovely picture of the world she is writing about. Read this book, it’s definitely worth your time! 

I want to thank the publisher (Little, Brown and Company) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.

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review 2016-09-18 04:16
To the Bright Edge of the World
To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel - Eowyn Ivey

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey is part history, part action, part myth, and part love story. The entire story is written as original documents - photographs, maps, catalog entries, newspaper clippings, letters, and journal entries. This approach is immensely successful in this book. The beautiful thing is that all these parts come together to form a cohesive and memorable story that feels so very real.

 

Read my complete review at Memories From Books - To the Bright Edge of the World.

 

Reviewed based on a publisher’s galley received through NetGalley

 

Source: www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2016/09/to-bright-edge-of-world.html
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review 2016-09-15 17:56
Review: To the Bright Edge of the World
To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel - Eowyn Ivey

Eowyn Ivey's second novel, To the Bright Edge of the World, in an impressive feat. This epistolary novel shows considerable research and passion for the subjects. Personally, I'm not a big fan of correspondence-based novels. Often, I find it is poorly done—authors too often rely on giving information that they wouldn't share or need to share with the recipient, all for the sake of advancing the plot. I roll my eyes every time. I guess you could say it's a pet peeve.

Had I known To the Bright Edge of the World was an epistolary novel before I picked it up, I might have delayed my read. I liked Ivey's previous work, The Snow Child, immensely, but not enough to suffer through four hundred pages of fictitious documents. But Ivey does it flawlessly. She truly gets into the minds of her characters and writes as they would have. She trusts her readers to discover what was left unsaid and to piece it all together to make a plot. The different periods and perspectives all come together to create a rather engaging read.

That said, I'm still not a fan of the epistolary novel. To the Bright Edge of the World is such a fantastic example of how it can be done well, but I didn't fall in love. For me, stories with an overly present narrator force me to take a step back from the tale, and that's exactly what happened here. I enjoyed the characters and scenery (Oh, the setting of this one!) from a distance, but never felt fully committed.

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review 2016-09-05 23:50
Entrancing and chilling tale
To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel - Eowyn Ivey

This book is about an expedition to Alaska in 1885. It’s loosely based on a real-life expedition taken by Lt. Henry J. Allen but I’m sure the real adventurers didn’t encounter what those in this book did.  For those of you who have read this author’s “The Snow Child”, (finalist for the Pulitzer Prize) you’ll know that folklore and mythology play a huge role in her work.  While the book feels like a true story since it includes photos, newspaper clippings, drawings, artifacts, diary entries and official documents, the events in this story will fill your mind with wonder as it sends chills down your spine.

 

Lt. Col. Allen Forrester takes off for Alaska and the Wolverine River with a small team of men to explore the territory. None of the other teams sent out have made it back alive so this is a very dangerous task they’ve taken on.  Cannibalism is rumored among the Indian tribes.  Food will be scarce and the weather is brutal.  As hard as the journey is anticipated to be, none of them can imagine what is actually ahead for them.

 

Forrester has left behind his wife, Sophie, who is an adventurous soul herself and longs to travel to Alaska beside him.   But an unexpected event stops her from going and she must content herself at home.  The love letters sent between Allen and Sophie are lovely and the author has done an excellent job of fleshing out these two characters and their love for each other.  I especially enjoyed reading about Sophie’s love of birds and her beginnings as a photographer.

 

There are parts that are a bit slow moving and probably could have been deleted without much of a loss but most of the book flows along quite well and keeps your interest.

 

This is a beautifully written book. The descriptions of Alaska are breathtaking, the adventures are suspenseful and the witch doctor is nightmare inducing.  Magical and recommended.

 

This book was given to me by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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