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
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.
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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.....
Yes I would listen again. After listening to this book, I can imagine what total darkness, cold, and lack of human contact can do to the human mind...especially with something haunting your every move.
The time frame was one of my favorites. The fact that this was an expedition is also one of my favorite settings for horror.
Jack. Probably because he was there for all of the expedition, where all other characters were there only part of the time. Jack endured all the little island could throw at him until the end. He also became a dog lover in the end as well.
Inside the mind of a man, alone, literally at the end of the earth, with only darkness and a dog as constant companions. Or, is there something else out there?
I liked this book, a lot. It's descriptions of the terrible loneliness in the dark is amazing. I think this is a ghost story comparable with the Shining, which I think it's another amazing book. Highly recommended.
A suspenseful, gripping story that immediately submerses the reader in an alien world replete with hidden dangers. The narration is one of the best I have ever listened to. Don't miss it!
Creepy atmosphere, building up tension throughout the story. I really had no idea how it was going to end. I was on the edge of my seat. Great narrator, too, with a natural-sounding accent, good reading pace, added atmosphere to the story.
Characters were complex & believable. I really enjoyed this story all the way through.
I was not familiar with the author when I picked this up, so I had no idea what to expect. The plot is simple but told in a very effective way. Narration is absolutely top notch. This may be my favorite audio book of the past 12 months, and I go through these things like it's my job.
Absolutely. This is really one of the best books I've 'read' / listened to in a long time. So atmospheric, and as the story unfolds, it really becomes a journey into solitude. The elements, the light or lack thereof in this bleak ice landscape start to play tricks on the mind of the main character. His routines, and his fears are played out in a very realistic way... and that post... keeps moving?
'Who goes there' by John W Campbell is similar in the setting which again plays a role in the mindset of the characters. Who Goes There is the book of the film 'The Thing', although different from the film, more realistic. And becomes a classic almost whodunit as characters disappear one by one - or in this case (without giving too much away) 'change'
His voice suited the mood entirely and even his Scandinavian accent was good, had me smiling as he did his Norwegian accent.
At times it quite spooked me, I have, in the past lived in some remote areas where the wind, creaking of the house or trees outside can make you jumpy, and as I mentioned that post, he keep checking it hasn't moved... Anyone who has experienced solitude or living in remote areas will be able to relate to this.
All in a MUST listen and a great addition to your library.
"Good but far to short"
I would definitely try a book with the same narrator. This was a grand performance.
As for the author, not so sure. The book is well written, I liked the characters... but it's rather short and there's not much to it.
It needed some twists.
Sorry for the spoiler but it goes like this - guys meet up for an expedition, bad luck strikes leaving one alone, things go weird (as the place is haunted), guy gets rescued, the end.
This story is slightly longer than a side story in the epics I like to take on. It needed to be 2/3 times the length. With more to it than just a week or so of the mian character being petrified in the snow.
Could've played on some of the ideas, like the ice talking to itself or even the creation of phantom characters. It was all a bit too straight forward for me.
When the main character gets acquainted with the dogs.
Wish I'd checked the length or the book first. Too short for me.
I loved this book, I read it and then bought the audiobook which was even better, brilliantly performed too!
The end was fantastic, it built and developed in a beautiful way
It scared me but not in a ridiculous way
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this intense, suspenseful, dark and thoughtful tale. The narration was excellent and drew me into the story; very powerful and...intimate. Definitely recommended.
"Atmospheric & gripping - perfect narrator too!"
Great book for winter - "ghost story" sells it short as this is more psychological than supernatural.
"Good to listen to after The Martian"
The narrater Jeremy Northam was brilliant! The whole book is very atmospheric and really pulls you into the cold, desolate place that the characters find themselves in. I would suggest this is a good book to listen to after The Martian - this one is not funny like the Martian but it is written from the same viewpoint of a single man trapped.
I would also suggest opening a YouTube tab on your browser and looking for a video called Meditation To The Sound Of A Blizzard - its an hour long blizzard sounds - really really adds to the drama of the book!
"Classic English Horror - M.R. James Style"
Dark Matter is a beautifully written and atmospheric ghost story, which pulls you into the polar isolation, barely able to take a breath. The protagonist is set up brilliantly, showing you the detail of research which went into the period of the time. Many people today will not appreciate what poverty is, and indeed, was. Jeremy Northam very much makes the story his own. I cannot imagine reading the paperback to be an equal experience. Both subtle and creepy, this must surely be recognised as one of the great horror and ghost stories of the early twenty-first century. Listen in bed with the lights off on a cold winter's night for maximum effect.
A brilliant story, with 100% satisfaction delivered for this reviewer.
"One of the best ever ghost stories"
One of the best novels, audiobook or otherwise that I've read.
The cold, the loneliness and the fear. It's a book to read whilst warm and cosy with the lights on!
This is one that I will listen to again
"i know it says a ghost story but..."
...i'm in two minds. i'd recommend because it's a different kind of ghost story. but i'm not sure it's good enough of 'different' to recommend. it's good enough but very original at times and very predictable in other bits, it would have been nicer if it had kept the originality up all along.
"Short but riveting"
The slowly mounting sense of dread as the central character's sanity is pushed to its limits will make you feel better about your petty quotidian anxieties.
If you enjoyed Michel Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness you will appreciate the emotional impact and suspense of her writing in this book.
Not too over the top, good interpretation of the central characters frustration, self-loathing and existential angst.
You do get engaged with Jack's emotional journey and identify with the base emotional fear of the unknown, the other, the monster under the bed.
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