Summary and book reviews of To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

To the Bright Edge of the World

by Eowyn Ivey

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2016, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2017, 432 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Claire McAlpine

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About this Book

Book Summary

From the bestselling author of The Snow Child, a thrilling tale of historical adventure set in the Alaskan wilderness.

In the winter of 1885, Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester sets out with his men on an expedition into the newly acquired territory of Alaska. Their objective: to travel up the ferocious Wolverine River, mapping the interior and gathering information on the region's potentially dangerous native tribes. With a young and newly pregnant wife at home, Forrester is anxious to complete the journey with all possible speed and return to her. But once the crew passes beyond the edge of the known world, there's no telling what awaits them.

With gorgeous descriptions of the Alaskan wilds and a vivid cast of characters - including Forrester, his wife Sophie, a mysterious Eyak guide, and a Native American woman who joins the expedition - To the Bright Edge of the World is an epic tale of one of America's last frontiers, combining myth, history, romance, and adventure.

Diary of Lieut. Col. Allen Forrester
March 21, 1885
Perkins Island, Alaska

I do not know the time. The depths of night. It may already be tomorrow. I cannot see my own words, but write as I can by moonlight so as to record my first thoughts. In the morning I may deem it outlandish. For now I am slightly shaken.

I rose moments ago & left the tent to relieve myself. With the moon, I did not bother to light a lantern. I slid my feet into boots without tying laces & made my way into the trees. The only sound was of the sea washing at the beach. It is true, I was barely awake, my eyes bleary. As I turned back towards the tent, I heard a rustling overhead. I looked up into moonlight broken by silver shadow & black branches. I expected an animal, perhaps an owl roosted, but it was the old Eyak Indian up in the boughs of the spruce. His face was obscured, but I knew his spare frame, black hat atop his head. Moonlight glinted off the strange decorations at his neck.

He crouched high in the ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Ivey cleverly juxtaposes the practical ambitions of Forrester and his crew against the deeply knowledgeable ways of the native Indians they travel with and encounter, whose warnings are communicated in a language of legend and symbolism. She acknowledges the vast terrain between their ways of thinking, the loss of a culture and tradition; and then searches for the good, demonstrating the tender aspect of ignorant explorers, opening their eyes to the mystical, even though they bury what they have witnessed to save face.   (Reviewed by Claire McAlpine).

Full Review (806 words).

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Media Reviews

The National Book Review

This rich blend of adventure bravado and contemplative memoir, past and present, reinvigorates the idea of a historical novel.

Library Journal

As evidenced by her New York Times best seller, The Snow Child, also a Pulitzer Prize finalist, Ivey writes with an arresting blend of near-mythic sensibility and gorgeous, soaring exactitude that she should put to good use in this second novel.

The Washington Post

A terrific example of why we love these stories of man-against-nature. But it also aspires to be something more...a moving, surprising story.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this splendid adventure novel, Ivey captures Alaska's beauty and brutality, not just preserving history, but keeping it alive.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Heartfelt, rip-snorting storytelling.

Booklist

Starred Review. Ivey deftly draws the reader into the perils of the journey...a compelling historical saga of survival.

Author Blurb Ron Rash, author of Serena
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.

Author Blurb Jason Gurley, author of Eleanor
To the Bright Edge of the World is a glorious feast of American mythology. ... 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 start relief: gleaming, serrated, unforgiving. ... a magical, breathtaking novel that I just cannot put out of my mind.

Author Blurb Rosamund Lupton, author of Sister and The Quality of Silence
A stunning and intriguing novel combining the epic adventurous sweep of Alaska with minutely beautifully observed details - the reader finishes it wiser and richer.

Author Blurb Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
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 ... How can one novel contain such richness? Eowyn Ivey is a wonder.

Reader Reviews

shannon

I am glad I read it but....
I read this book for my bookclub. I liked it and I was glad I read it but I couldn't care about any of the characters and I need at least one connection who I really care about.

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Beyond the Book

Lieutenant Henry Tureman Allen - Alaskan Explorer and Decorated US Major General

Just as reading a Russian folktale inspired her to write The Snow Child, so too did the concept for Eowyn Ivey's second novel arise from a piece of literature - this time on the fragile pages of a rare book she discovered at the bookshop where she worked.

Henry Tureman AllenToo expensive to purchase, she asked the owner's permission and took it home for an evening. Staying up late, she read passages aloud to her husband. Despite growing up in Alaska, this was an elemental history of the region she knew nothing about. The book was Lieutenant Henry Allen's Report of an Expedition to the Copper, Tananá, and Kóyukuk Rivers, and it would become the inspiration for her novel, To the Bright Edge of the World, the fictitious Wolverine River ...

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