Friday, November 23, 2012

Dark Matter: A Ghost Story by Michelle Paver

Publisher: Orion
Price/Format: £7.99, paperback.
Bought from: Mr B's Emporium
ISBN 1409121186

This was one of the first books I read from Mr B's Reading Spa recommendations.  I am well known in my circle of friends and family to be a downright scaredy cat, and have nightmares for weeks after watching or reading something particularly scary, so I was a little aprehensive about reading this.

I had decided that having read it back in July/August it was too late to post a review about it now, but what do you know?  Apparently sometime after reading it I posted about it on our facebook book club page and it's now assigned as one of our upcoming books.  I may give it another go, knowing what happens may add a certain something to re-reading it.  Kind of like re-watching a film and seeing all the clues you missed the first time.

Set in the 1930's Jack is a poor man with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, who gets given a great opportunity to do something incredible and take part in a scientific expedition to overwinter in the arctic circle.  His team members bit by bit leave him for various reasons and he finds himself left to carry the expedition on his own, accompanied only by the sled dogs and the feeling of not being really alone in the permanent darkness.

For much of the novel you aren't sure if Jack is actually being haunted or just mentally crumbling under the strain of being alone in the constant darkness of such a stark environment.  It is essentially up to you to decide which you want to believe, and neither are comfortable options.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story, up to about half way through I was quite happy to read at night, but as the story progresses the tension mounts and I had to finish the book while only reading during the day.  It was well written I thought, easy to read, well paced with events escalating throughout the story.  The descriptions of the place, Jack, etc are all wonderful and really bring the story to life.

If you're braver than me (lets face it - who isn't?) then I highly recommend reading it at night.  If we have another cold snowy winter it would really be an excellent atmospheric read.  I am particularly looking forward to re-reading it while I'm cosy and warm on a wintry night in deepest darkest December.

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