The Still Point: Book summary and reviews of The Still Point by Amy Sackville

The Still Point

A Novel

by Amy Sackville

The Still Point by Amy Sackville
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2011
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

At the turn of the twentieth century, Arctic explorer Edward Mackley sets out to reach the North Pole and vanishes into the icy landscape without a trace. He leaves behind a young wife, Emily, who awaits his return for decades, her dreams and devotion gradually freezing into rigid widowhood.

A hundred years later, on a sweltering mid-summer’s day, Edward’s great-grand-niece Julia moves through the old family house, attempting to impose some order on the clutter of inherited belongings and memories from that ill-fated expedition, and taking care to ignore the deepening cracks within her own marriage. But as afternoon turns into evening, Julia makes a discovery that splinters her long-held image of Edward and Emily’s romance.

The Still Point slaloms through past, present, and future, with dreams revealing a universal simultaneity to the choices we must all make in the faces of love and passion. Long-listed for the Orange Prize, The Still Point is a powerful literary debut, masterfully told in the language of the heart.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Sackville wields language like a wand, calling up the look and feel of two disparate landscapes. Her prose reminds us of the pleasure in being carried to far-off worlds by words alone: the feat feels magical, not technical." - The New York Times, Sophia Lear

"[Sackville's] first novel…captures all the bizarre extremes of the North Pole, from the face-freezing temperatures of the Arctic to the overheated romance of the endeavor, from bracing adventure to stultifying dullness. But her real interest is the predicament of those left behind by these obsessed heroes." - The Washington Post

"Sackville is a canny observer and a dry wit who can tease a trace of significance out of even the most mundane corners of domesticity." - Publishers Weekly

"Sackville has written a dreamily poetic debut novel...Captivating and poignant." - Library Journal

"This is a subtle, probing exploration of the role of faith, the meaning of failure, and history’s power to move us forward." - Booklist

"The two worlds of ice and heat, a century apart, are carefully balanced by exquisitely restrained prose." - The Guardian (UK)

"An exceptional debut novel...she writes like a younger Rachel Cusk, precise poetry undercut by dry wit." - Financial Times

"Spanning a single day, the novel's dream-like structure belies its linguistic and emotional precision...a poised beginning." - Daily Mail

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Amy Sackville was born in 1981. She studied English and Theatre Studies at Leeds, and went on to an MPhil in English at Exeter College, Oxford, and last year completed the MA in Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths. This is her first novel.

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