Book Talk: Northernmost: A novel by Peter Geye
“ Elegant . . . Geye artfully spans 120 years of the Eide family’s story. With equal skill, he portrays Odd Einar’s dramatic confrontation with implacable nature while exploring the tension between terror and resignation . . . the novel is equally satisfying whether it’s situated in the past or present. One man’s terrifying story of survival in an Arctic wasteland reverberates profoundly in the life of his distant descendant.”
About the Book
From the acclaimed author of Wintering: a thrilling ode to the spirit of adventure and the vagaries of loss and love.
In 1897, Odd Einar Eide returns home from a near-death experience in the Arctic only to discover his own funeral underway. His wife, Inger, stunned to see him alive, is slow to warm back up to him, having spent many sleepless nights convinced she had lost both him and their daughter, Thea, who traveled to America two years earlier but has yet to send even a single letter back to them in Hammerfest, their small Norwegian town at the top of the earth.
More than a century later, Greta Nansen has finally begun to admit to herself that her marriage is over. Desperately unhappy and unfulfilled, she makes the decision to follow her husband from their home in Minnesota to Oslo, where he has traveled for work, to end it once and for all.
But on impulse, for reasons unknown even to her, she diverts her travels to Hammerfest: the town of her ancestors, the town where her great-great-grandmother Thea was born--and for some reason never returned to.
Braiding together two remarkable stories of love and survival, Northernmost wades into the darkest recesses of the human heart and celebrates the remarkable ability of humans to endure nearly unimaginable trials.
Reviews and What Readers Say
“ Engaging and memorable . . . Geye’s wonderful gift for words is evident throughout . . . The language is lyrical and often poetic, almost sounding as if Mary Shelley herself had come back to describe the frozen north."
—Urban Waite, San Francisco Chronicle
“ Geye imbues isolating bleakness with a perverse beauty . . . Geye captures winter so well in its physical and emotional consequences. That this can leave a reader with a bit of a chill in both body and soul is a considered risk."
—Kim Ode, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“ We might as well give Peter Geye the Nobel Prize for winter, or declare him the poet laureate of snow. For no other writer so skillfully captures landscapes of glacier and tundra—both their bleakness and their particular beauty. To read him is to feel the ache of a blizzard on your skin. But in Northernmost, he has also given us an exhilarating tale of adventure and love and heartache and faith, a story of overcoming the most trying ordeals imaginable. Partly a tale of heroic survival, partly a meticulously researched history, and partly an epic romance, Northernmost is, most of all, a beautiful, big-hearted, triumphant novel."
—Nathan Hill, author of The Nix
“ Northernmost fascinated me with its frozen landscapes and Arctic winters, and it warmed me with the tenderness of its storytelling and humanity of its characters. Peter Geye has written a tremendously satisfying family saga about the tenacity of love amid the unpredictable, ungovernable forces that act on our lives." —Maggie Shipstead, author of Astonish Me
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Born and raised in Minneapolis, PETER GEYE lives there with his family. His previous novels are Safe from the Sea, The Lighthouse Road, and Wintering.