January 1937. Jack Miller has just about run out of options. His shoes have worn through, he can't afford to heat his rented room in Tooting, and he longs to use his training as a specialist wireless operator instead of working in his dead-end job. When he is given the chance to join an arctic expedition, as communications expert, by a group of elite Oxbridge graduates, he brushes off his apprehensions and convinces himself to join them.
As the young men set sail from a gloomy Britain on the verge of war, Jack feels the overwhelming excitement of not knowing what lies ahead. Little can he imagine the horrors that await him in their destination, Gruhuken, a place that cannot escape the savage echo of its past.
©2010 Michelle Paver (P)2010 Orion Publishing Group Limited
Dark Matter is a moody, atmospheric ghost story reminiscent of James or Poe. There is little obvious gore; the horror lies in the claustrophobic struggles of the protagonist who is tormented by his inability to decide whether he is hallucinating or really being haunted by a ghost. He is temporarily alone at a pre-World War I arctic research site. The cold and the dark close him in. He is constantly counting off the days until his companions return and that return repeatedly gets delayed. His only companion (apart from a brief visit from a trapper) is an Inuit husky. How he goes from being a dog hater to having his sanity saved by a dog is one of the more interesting subplots (if you like dogs, I do). The narrator is excellent and makes the most of a good story. Recommended if you like ghost stories without a dead body every ten steps...not for action junkies.
If you love ghost stories in the gothic/vitorian vein, then this is a tale well worth reading and listening to. I believe that this "chilling" tale will become a classic. The narration is spot on and the writing is tight and well developed.
Avid reader (and listener) of books. I love drawing and photography.
I love the story. There's a creeping sense of unease throughout the whole thing. The more I knew about Jack the more I liked him, and that simply added to the suspense - I didn't want anything to happen to him. I knew something bad was coming but I didn't know what. It made me want to listen non-stop simply to find out what happened.
The moment with the Seal. I don't want to spoil the moment for people who have never read it, but I was deeply affected by it. It added to the atmosphere of creeping horror I felt. It made it seem more substantial.
Even though I truly enjoyed the story, what I loved most about it was the narrator. He has a pleasant, calming voice, and I love the way the narrator reads the story, it is like the main character is a real person relating his experiences to me. I don't feel like I'm listening to an audiobook at all, and the emotions of Jack shine through in his performance. When the character felt afraid, I felt afraid with him. It really felt like I was going on a journey with him. I think the narrator simply enriched what was already a good story and made it superb.
'What is it? What does it want? Why is it angry with me?'
I would recommend this story to anyone who loves ghost stories and suspense. The story, if you'll excuse the pun, is truly chilling. I wouldn't recommend you listen to it at night, like I had done, though.
This story kicks off with a very effective opening monologue. The first person point of view provides the story with a fantastic atmosphere. The writing style combined with a brilliant narration performance by Jeremy Northam allow the reader to become fully immersed in the story, which itself is quite creepy and realistic. The setting is realistically portrayed and allows the reader to really get a sense for the intense cold and isolation experienced by the protagonist as he progresses through the story.
I honestly cannot give enough credit to Jeremy Northam for this performance. I believe he presented the story flawlessly. Even his portrayal of the various Scandinavian accents are extremely realistic. Often narrator's attempts at various accents can detract from the story and drag the reader out of the experience, but this is most definitely not an issue in this case.
A well deserved four stars!
This story met the criteria that I was looking for at the time. Ghost story in a winter setting.
(I realize that sounds odd but I pick books that way)
In that regard this story did not let me down. At times I was pleasantly reminded of a little Lovecraft and Poe, other times I found the story to build to no avail. The writing felt like a classic does.
There was nothing wrong at all with this book. I was just left wanting more.
Yes the narration was excellent!
The whole premise of the story and the setting.
No others from Jeremy yet but I loved the narrators work on this book.
Listen to it late at night and you will not be disappointed.
Hard-core horror fans may not be enamoured with this story, as the fear slowly simmers without really boiling over. Just enough detail to imply horror, and lots of beautifully written tension. The placement of this story post-WW2 aids several plot points and adds to the feeling of displacement, or disorientation, the reader may experience. The main character is nicely developed and likeable. His story is told in an intimate, journal style. The book takes it's time getting to the "creepy parts," but the quiet, moodiness of the writing, and the character development is, in it's own way, suspenseful. Possibly not the most thrilling ending, but really, the story wraps up nicely and the denoument is quite satisfying. Definitely a mood piece. And...WOW, the narration is INCREDIBLE!!!
This terrifyingly cold book is lovely for this dark, frigid time of year. I listened to it during my evening runs in the cold and dark. The isolated, confined atmosphere added shivers to the brilliant ghost story.
Jeremy Northam gave a nuanced performance, and I will be looking for other books narrated by him.
This is a nice quick listen. Just over six hours. Perfect for a drive or just doing chores around the house on a Saturday.
You may want to pay for this out of pocket as you can digest it in one go and that way you still have your credit for the remaining 29 days.
That being said, it is still worth the listen. Jeremy Northam has given a nice performance on this story. This would be best suited for the Fall as the weather is getting worse and you seem pulled inside more. You will really feel part of this story. While I listened to it on a warm Spring day, I did have to suppress a shudder more than once. Enjoy!
"Dark Matter by Michelle Paver"
An excellent story, brilliantly told. Atmospheric and chilling, poignant and heartbreaking. Narration - spot on. One of the best audiobooks that I have listened to so far.
"Wonderful audio performance"
?Dark Matter?, Michelle Paver?s hotly anticipated adult novel, describes itself as a ghost story, and that it most definitely is, but it is also a poignant love story. Set firmly in the class-ridden society of the inter-War years, when exploring the mysterious Polar regions had the allure that space travel has for us today, Ms Paver?s book is nonetheless crisp, modern and accessible in style. Many have favourably likened the novel to the classic ghost stories of M.R. James. James, I find, chills me most when read aloud, and I recommend the audio version of ?Dark Matter?, read by Jeremy Northam, for the same reason. Jeremy?s intelligent and subtle yet incredibly powerful performances make him the ideal reader of ?Dark Matter?. This may well be his best audio performance to date.
Jack Miller, whose journal forms the narrative, is a loner, a misfit, a middle-class boy with a chip on his shoulder, too well-educated to have anything in common with his peers, and doomed by circumstances to a dead-end job. He is poor, desperate, and longs for another life, where he can use his intelligence. An Arctic expedition offers Jack a chance to change his life. After seeing a drowned man pulled from the Thames, and fearing a similar fate awaits him if he stays in London, he decides to take his chance, though once again he is the outsider amongst his Oxbridge companions.
Jack is a vividly drawn character, and a gift for an actor, as is the journal format. Think of it as one long soliloquy! Jeremy doesn?t merely read the book, he becomes Jack Miller. Jack is a character you will care about. He is prickly at times, a mass of insecurities, at first an unlikely hero, but he is also an ordinary man who is capable of great courage, as we find out.
It is when the expedition reaches Gruhuken that the novel and Jeremy?s performance really take hold. I recommend setting aside a goodly chunk of time to listen because you won't want to switch off!
"The scariest audio book I have ever listened to"
I usually listen to my books late at night, but this was one that almost had me running around turning all the lights on. This must be THE most scary book that I have downloaded from Audible to date. I'm no great fan of violence or gore, and with this book it's the suggestion of the horror awaiting the protagonist that really gets to you - the uncertainty of whether it is all in his (or your) mind. But no spoilers here! I also really enjoyed the atmospheric descriptions of the barren artic wastes and found the narration really good. All in all a highly recommendable read!
"Top 5 Horror"
I listened to this book a while a go now and really enjoyed it from start to finish. It really grips you with the atmosphere and the character(s) are very believable. This makes it easy to feel like you are in the book and believe me when I say that sometimes it is a relief to remind yourself you are not.
I would definitely recommend this to a friend and will be listening again! I am a massive fan of all things horror so for me this is quite a statement.
"Dark. And very cold. Brilliant."
Oh boy, I listened to this while London was experiencing the Big Chill and it totally spooked me. There were times when I found it so menacing I had to switch off . The atmosphere is very convincing thanks to Jeremy Northam's superb narration. Each scene was very clear to me visually and this made the 'menace' of the story even more threatening. But there's compassion here too, the main character is genuinely likeable and you feel - and fear - for him in his solitude. I absolutely loved it.
"Buy this book"
This was one of the best audiobooks I have listened to. The characters were believable, and the story was well developed. The sense of menace was built slowly, with a clever interlude when it seemed all might be ok. Any more information would spoil a great listen - I recommend this book to anyone who has ever finished reading and wished that the story continued.
"Storytelling at its best..."
This really is an excellent book, and far surpasses the basic storyline of a small group of people going to the islands of Svalbard to study weather patterns. All starts well, but it isn't too long before the first sense of foreboding is triggered by the question 'Did you speak to him?'
After this the sense of menace slowly mounts, until two wrong choices Jack makes from misguided altruism lead to the inevitable tragedy, albeit not the one expected.
This is a strongly written story, and so goosepimply atmospheric that at times I felt myself actually there by Jack's side, experiencing the horror of his two fatal and irrevocable mistakes. It was impossible to escape the feeling that this wasn't going to end well; in fact, it was one of the most poignant endings I've come across in a long time.
Excellently written, superb narration and highly recommended.
If you like having your spine tingled, buy this audio-book! You will not be disappointed.
"So haunting and atmosphere - a gem of a story"
It's hard for a book to really capture a spine-tingling ghost story, but this book does it fantastically. The harsh landscape is really captured in this writing, and the characters are excellent. My heart was really racing at times, and the mix of landscape and cultural mythology and factual history was utterly compelling. An excellent story and fabulous narration all combined to make this a real treasure.
Creepy story, very atmospheric and the reader's voice suited the story.
This is a very fine novel, beautifully and evocatively written. Jeremy Northam's superbly atmospheric narration makes it a terrific audiobook, in both senses of the word. Far more than a ghost story set in the Arctic, it is a profound meditation on loneliness, darkness, fear, love, loss, memory and death. Without being in the least sentimental, it is a deeply moving story, movingly read by a great actor.
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