I'm open to any book as long as it is true to itself.
As I live in the North myself, I can tell you that Paver captures the feeling of the cold and isolation extremely well. A simple premise, but Paver explores relationships between friends and man and dog effectively. Class issues permeate through the relationships between the men and the main character comes to new understandings through his experiences and is a changed man by the end of the book. A unique book which I would highly recommend. The narration was excellent.
I felt a lot more tense while listening to this than I expected to. Its pretty short so I was able to listen to it on one long evening drive which made it much more immersive. Definitely a well executed chilling ghost story.
Tell us about yourself!
I am just one third of the way through this novel and I am already going to pieces, as it is making me very giddy.. Paver is skillfully weaving a most suspense ridden story while Northam's realistic reading, makes me not want to listen to it after night falls. That is quite significant to me, as I live on sunny St. Thomas, the complete opposite of Spitsbergen. Will update later.....
See clearly/Know what is/Act without hesitation
This is easily one of the best ghost stories I have read and listened to in the last decade.
The first look at the round shouldered figure on the beach.
If Ms. Paver's other novels are paced the same as Dark Matter, then I think I will pass up the opportunity. If Jeremy Northam delivers a performance in other productions like he did in this recording, then I will definitely send them into the Audible shopping cart.
Absolutely not. I'd consider other ghost stories, but if the majority of the genre has this little action, then I may skip it in the future.
Jeremy Northam was absolute perfection as Jack Miller. There are minor characters, which he makes distinctive, but as this if a first person story with diary entries as the story vehicle, the main character is 99% of the novel. That said, he makes each individual a true personality with accents and speech patterns.
Michelle Paver is a gifted writer whose descriptions are vivid and come to life off the page. However, there is only so much of a good thing you can take. The ratio of description to action, or events, was, in my opinion 7-1. There's only so many times you can describe the ever-shifting colors of the arctic sky, sunsets, plays of light upon the water and snow, etc., before you are begging for something to happen.The production value was good, although the formatting of seven audio chapters not matching the 17 book chapters did throw me off and I kept having to use bookmarks to return to a chapter's start.The star of this production was easily the narrator, Jeremy Northam. No one could have cast a better narrator for this production. It's was kept me listening till the end.
Did I read a different Dark Matter? I couldn't download this novel fast enough after reading the reviews. I do love a good ghost story and based on people's comments it sounded as if I was going to experience one that set a gold standard. If this was one of the greatest, then I have to bail from this genre now.
It is easy to discover that Michelle Paver is a gifted writer. Her characters are life-like, the dialogue natural and sharp, and her descriptions of the artic seas, landscape, flora and fauna, and palette of shifting colors in each scene is vivid. However, these elements need the accompaniment .of plot and pace. The story's events, like an arctic winter, are sloooooow in passing. It takes so many chapters before you even are exposed to a ghostly manifestation that the interest in the novel wanes.
No doubt there is suspense, the reviewers are spot on, and it's built steadily, steadily. But it builds only so far and then it flat lines till the end of the novel. Reviewers claimed they were frightened, midway through the novel I used the recording as a sleep aid. The suggestions of a malevolent presence watching Jack Miller and the expedition members isn't enough, especially since it takes 10+ chapters before a ghost is seen. And once experienced, its later appearances, and suggestions of presence, hardly match the build up to the climax.
I'm sad to say, it was a let down. When the narration finished I asked myself, "that's it? I spent the money and time on this story and that's it?"
The strength of this novel is the character arc Jack Miller travels through the chapters. Had this been a psychological case study of the daily affect of artic winters on the mind, it would have been a great academic read, but a novel highlighting daily routines and visual descriptions seems no more exciting than real life, even when it is peppered with a ghost.
I wanted to like this novel. I anticipated it. It was like looking forward to a date with someone you are told is beautiful, dynamic, and guaranteed to please. But as the date goes on you begin to see the flaws, the personality flattens with each passing minute, and in the end, you're standing on the porch, your date went inside and you didn't even get a peck on the cheek. If only they had paid for dinner.
Lover of sci-fi and the occasional horror story. Philosophical inclinations. English is my second language.
This is a nicely composed narrative about loneliness, social class and horror. As an avid fan of horror movies and books, I think there is little in the genre that can scare me. With Dark Matter, I actually had a delicious moment when I was lying alone in bed, listening to the narrative and starting to fantasize what might lie in wait for me in the darkness under the bed. As a Scandinavian, I like the fact that the author has drawn on some of our Scandi myths, although I might be less scared of the arctic night than people who have never experienced it.
I particularly like that the main protagonist, Jack, faces the horrors on Spitsbergen not as a hero, but because he is too afraid to display his fright to his social superiors. In a sense then, the novel shows how shame triumphs over dread.
I really enjoyed the performance by Jeremy Northam, who skillfully acted out, rather than merely read the novel. Could not help notice that he pronounced the Norwegian words quite well, guess he has done his homework.
Still, despite this being an entertaining book and despite the really well developed personage gallery and social themes, this kind of horror novel always follows a given path. Dark Matter does not do anything new with the genre and simply adds a bit of depth and detail to a narrative we have read/heard in numerous other books. This does not take away from its entertainment value, and the author never promises anything else. Nevertheless, this bars me from giving the book five stars, which I will save for the more innovative examples of the genre.
What a great book! I really liked the subtle spookiness and atmosphere the story has. The sense of isolation and the mental effect it had on the protagonist was written very well. I thought the supernatural elements were not too overbearing and complemented the story well. If you are looking for over-the-top gore and in-your-face horror, look somewhere else! However, if you enjoy a slowly built story with lots of chilling events that you think of long after you have finished the story, check this one out!
I would recommend to those who enjoy a ghost story depicted in the early 1900's.
The descriptions used gave you the impression that just out side your door would be a world of ice.
It was a very well written book. I found myself feeling dread just from the author's description of a log in the ground. Not something easily done for me! I can't go into too much depth without giving anything a way, but it does have that Lovecraftian journal-writing feel that slowly injects you with growing dread of something that shouldn't be.
Jeremy Northam does a good job as the narrator and by the end of the book you really feel he is the voice of the protagonist.
There are a few thoughts and declarations of male homosexuality that Michelle Paver crams in near the end of the book that I didn't feel were really needed, but the story was still great despite it. Not sure why she decided to add it. There isn't any physical homosexual contact. It's all in the guy's head. However, you won't miss anything by skipping the few tiny bits that she included if you are the homophobic type.
Also, if you are seeking an action-packed read, then you will not find it here. You should probably look for a different novel if that's what floats your boat.
All in all Dark Matter was a great horror story that I enjoyed a great deal. Anyone who enjoys tales of growing dread and creepy horror stories, but isn't looking for action, should definitely give this audiobook a listen.
Tell us about yourself!
The entire story seemed as something of an intro to a great horror story. The narrator is what held my interest, as the story although short was a bit slow.