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Hachette Book Group (AU)
This price was set by the publisher.
Dark Matter: A Richard and Judy bookclub choice from the author of WAKENHYRST Kindle Edition
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|Length: 255 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Told in the increasingly fearful words of Jack as he writes in his journal, this is a blood-curdling ghost story, evocative not just of icy northern wastes but of a mind as, trapped, it turns in on itself ― DAILY MAIL
Paver has created a tale of terror and beauty and wonder. Mission accomplished: at last, a story that makes you check you've locked all the doors, and leaves you very thankful indeed for the electric light. In a world of CGI-induced chills, a good old-fashioned ghost story can still clutch at the heart ― FINANCIAL TIMES
Paver is the mistress of suspense, and the strangeness that humans can suffer from when exposed to the Arctic wilderness is brilliantly exploited in this period piece ― THE TIMES
Deeply affecting tale of mental and physical isolation ― SUNDAY TIMES
The ultimate test of a good ghost story is, surely, whether you feel panicked reading it in bed at midnight; two-thirds through, I found myself suddenly afraid to look out of the windows, so I'll call it a success ― OBSERVER
Dark Matter is terrific....(a) wild beast that grabs you by the neck ― THE TIMES
The very best ghost stories usually concern the predicaments of the living rather than the return of the dead. It's a point appreciated by Michelle Paver, whose haunting new novella so cleverly illustrates how it is fear, rather than death, which is the great leveller ― THE LADY
Neither (Susan) Hill nor Paver allows any doubt. Their ghosts seem real enough. Paver's is, I think, the more disturbing, her vision of an eternally dark world of snow and fear the more convincing, her pattern of mood and suggestion the more satisfying ― GLASGOW SUNDAY HERALD
Dark Matter is brilliant. Imagine Jack London meets Stephen King. The novel virtually defines a new genre: literary creepy. I loved it -- Jeffrey Deaver --This text refers to the paperback edition.
A terrifying 1930s ghost story set in the haunting wilderness of the far north.
'Brilliant. Imagine Jack London meets Stephen King. The novel virtually defines a new genre: literary creepy. I loved it' Jeffery Deaver
- ASIN : B0047CPB1K
- Publisher : Weidenfeld & Nicolson; UK ed. edition (21 October 2010)
- Language : English
- File size : 846 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 255 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 15,189 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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This story stayed with me long after I finished it
Hauntingly and cleverly written
I’ve been in the mood for a good ghost story for a while, and when another book blogger told me that Michelle Paver’s novel Dark Matter was not only suspenseful and spooky, but also set in a wild remote place, I didn’t need any more persuasion! And I must say that it lived up to all my expectations.
Dark Matter features an Arctic expedition in 1937, when four young men set off in a Norwegian vessel to spend a year on the remote land spit of Gruhuken on the Barents Sea. For twenty-eight year old Jack, who narrates the story through journey entries, his role as wireless operator on the expedition is a way to prove himself and escape his drab job as clerk that has kept him afloat after his family was bankrupted, ending his hopes of finishing his university degree. After his family’s fall from grace, Jack has turned into a loner who has no friends and rarely associates with other people, keeping himself to himself. Gruhuken, in its remoteness, has a strange appeal to him, a way to make a new start, clean his slate. Both his background as well as his personality make Jack an interesting, rounded character whose voice is perfect for the era and drive much of story’s momentum as his initial reserve and preconceived ideas begin to crumble in the remoteness of the Arctic Circle.
Paver does an excellent job in evoking the spirit of the wild setting she describes so vividly. The initial beauty of the Arctic summer with its constant daylight, which makes the men optimistic and confident about their mission, feeling invincible even in the wild, remote region they feel themselves stranded in. As the seasons change, and the days become shorter, there is an obvious change in the men, their confidence eroded by the ever increasing darkness and the eerie silence of the surrounding land when all the birds have fled before winter. As daylight gives way to constant darkness, Paver creates an atmosphere so tense and claustrophobic that I could literally feel the cold creeping in through the cracks in the wall, grateful of my own bedside lamp that kept the night at bay whilst reading.
Tension soon mounts as the isolation plays tricks on the human psyche – or is the threat real? Jack is a man of science, and he is all too eager to explain away the feelings of dread and menace he sometimes feels when venturing outside. But as his last companions are forced to leave, and he is left on his own in this unforgiving place, he soon finds that his rational explanations are woefully inadequate to explain away the fear. Something evil is afoot at Gruhuken, and it is slowly closing in.
Paver has achieved the art of balancing her narrative on the fine line between reality and the occult, in a way that we are never quite sure if Jack’s accounts are the unravelling of his own mind due to the constant dark, the isolation and the absence of other human contact, or whether there really is something evil haunting Gruhuken. All I know is that it was so authentic and believable that I buried deep under my doona and wild horses could not have made me go outside alone in the dark! Personally, I find that it is very difficult to find a book where the supernatural element is just right – enough to make you very, very afraid, but not over the top to make you having to suspend disbelief. It is a balance achieved by very few, and Paver has absolutely nailed it! One passage about the bear post in particular had my hair stand on end as I pictured it so vividly in my mind.
For anyone looking for a good ghost story with a rich, atmospheric setting and a historical element (yes, this book has it all!), I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
I'm not normally one for ghost stories but this one came recommended so I gave it a go. It is very well written, in the form of Jack's journal and it reads easily. The story seems like a fairly conventional "cabin in the woods" "24 hours of darkness" affair, nothing too complex or demanding. The early chapters build slowly as the characters set off on their adventure, settle down at the camp and watch the sun go down and there are some nice descriptive passages that convey the stark beauty and brooding menace of the landsacpe.
The haunting builds equally slowly, with a nicely handled, mounting sense of dread. This really spoke to me - and it will speak to anyone who has climbed the stairs in the dark after watching a scary movie, or walked down a dark country lane, wondering whether they can hear footsteps behind them. So, by the time I had reached the last third of the story (at about 11pm at night!) I was a little reluctant to turn off the lights!
However, while it promises a lot, the story falters in the final stages, this nicely crafted tension falls away and the nascent terror fizzles out. It remains an engaging and enjoyable /tale/ but the ghost story turns out to be a bit of an anti-climax.
Read it, enjoy it, but don't expect to be left a quivering jelly of nerves when you finish it.
"The moon has waned. It's just a slit in the sky. The dark is back. Once, I thought fear of the dark was the oldest fear of all. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe it's not the dark that people fear, but what comes in the dark. What exists in it."
Top reviews from other countries
Eugene Ambrose December 2018
The part when Mr Eriksons trapper friend turned up to check on Jack I felt genuine relief for him and I myself felt completely at ease while reading the book but as soon as he left I also felt my anxiety levels go up.
I found the book had a dry humour in parts which worked as I suppose in that sort of situation you would have to try see the dry funny side of things. I am not sure if anyone who has read this felt the same?
Furthermore I felt the love Jack felt for Gus was a beautiful touch and worked in the sense that in the dead of night, in the absolute pit of blackness, who do we/would we think of? the person/persons we love the most.
Great ghost story!
The story is told in the form of a journal written in 1937 by Jack Miller. Impoverished by misfortune, he feels he's missed out on fulfilling his dream of being a physicist and jumps at the chance to go on an Arctic expedition. But one by one each member of his team falls by the wayside and soon he is left completely alone in the snowy wilderness. Or is he?
"Gruhuken seems to have had a dismal past. I don't want any of it poking through."
Dark Matter is not the kind of thing I usually read (Arctic expedition, etc) but I absolutely loved it. The style of writing, the incredible detail about life in the Arctic - the amount of research the author must have undertaken! Menace is slowly built up, layer upon layer, until the shocking truth of what happened at Gruhuken is revealed. My nerves were shredded.
If you're looking for a thoroughly chilling (in more ways than one!) Halloween read - this is it. Also, great illustrations! Recommended!
Note: The book is shorter than it looks. On Kindle it ended at 85%. The remainder is made up of the author's notes (fascinating!), a Q&A, and a sample of her next book.
The story is told through the journal entries of Jack. Coloured by his insecurities about his wealth and background and his need to impress Gus, it gives the account of events a personal intensity. Although this is a worthwhile method of telling the story it would have been more successful and tense if more had been made out of the question of whether Jack has come into contact with some form of supernatural presence or whether he is just slowly being driven mad by the loneliness and the light deprivation. The novel touches upon such territory far too lightly.
This is a shame because the whole haunting side of things just isn’t that gripping. It is a very slow burn with everything abruptly being over. This makes it somewhat anticlimactic and, as such, a little disappointing. The book is fairly short so more time could definitely have been spent on the latter stages, building up tension and providing more of a sense of threat.
The novel’s strength lies in how the lead protagonist copes with the situation within which he finds himself; how he deals with the loneliness and the struggles of the environment. This side of things is more interesting than the ‘ghost story’ element.