Cover image for Northernmost
Title:
Northernmost
Author:
ISBN:
9780525655756
Physical Description:
336 p. ;

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Summary

Summary

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.


Author Notes

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.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Geye's finely wrought follow-up to Wintering continues his exploration of the Eide family in parallel narratives. Norwegian fisherman Odd Einar Eide makes a treacherous Arctic expedition in 1897. After he is gone for weeks, his neighbors and wife, Inger, assume he is dead, and he returns to his village of Hammerfest just in time to witness his own funeral. A journalist from Tromsø gets wind of Odd's adventures and convinces him and Inger to travel to Tromsø to record his remarkable story of survival. Greta Nansen, Odd's modern-day descendent in Minnesota, navigates the difficult terrain of a loveless marriage and pieces together her family history, living in the Minnesota fish house she refurbished that's been part of the Eide family for generations, where she feels a visceral connection to the harsh winters. She ends up visiting Hammerfest, finding more than just answers about her family's complex past. Geye captures Odd's harrowing confrontation with an ice bear and his subsequent soul-searching as he faces the desolation of the Arctic, which is mirrored brilliantly in descriptions of the isolating emotional and psychological turmoil faced by Greta. While Geye stumbles through some chronological inconsistencies, the robust depiction of the bleak and beautiful northern Norway landscape and insightful descriptions of Odd's and Greta's inner lives are consistently impressive. This is a memorable, powerful tale of endurance and ancestral connection. Agent: Jesseca Salky, Salky Literary Management. (Apr.)


Kirkus Review

A writer explores her family's humble Norwegian roots.In 1897, Norwegian fisherman Odd Einar Eide sets sail hundreds of miles above the Arctic Circle on a seal hunt. When his companion is slaughtered by a polar bear, Odd Einar must survive alone in the "fine desolation" of ice and snow for two weeks, until he's rescued by a passing ship. Given up for dead by his wife, Inger, Odd Einar returns home in the midst of his own funeral, forcing the impoverished couple to face the challenge of restoring their already fragile relationship. That task is complicated by the lingering ache from the absence of their daughter, Thea, departed two years earlier for America and silent since that time. Odd Einar's tale is framed by the story of his descendant Greta Nansen, a freelance journalist living in present-day Minneapolis, who embarks on the project of reclaiming her family's history as her own marriage of 20 years implodes. Alternating between the "rocky shore of hardened, desperate people living in poverty and gloom" in 19th-century rural Norway and Greta's life, where, despite her material comfort, loneliness is "the only feeling she had anymore," Geye (Wintering, 2016, etc.) 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 that haunts the involuntary adventurer's every step in that crisis. The choice to pair this pulsating adventure story with the subdued domestic drama of Greta's failed marriage and her discovery of the possibility of new love with musician Stig Hjalmarson when she impulsively travels to her ancestral home in the remote village of Hammerfest is not without risk. But Geye maintains an elegant counterpoint between the two narratives so that 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. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.