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 in the best tradition of the 'creeping dread' British horror genre, in the manner of M.R. James. The first person narrative is nuanced and very compelling. The novel is a well-researched fictional history of an expedition in the 1930s to a haunted Norwegian bay, far above the arctic circle. Beyond the main stories are themes of poverty, class and hero worship which give the story incredible depth.
The narration by Jeremy Northam is flawless.
As a first experience with audiobooks, listening to Dark Matter narrated by Jeremy Northam is an eye opening experience. The story, quite simple really, is riveting. A touch of irony here and there makes it all the better. Of course, Mr. Northam could read a phone book and make it interesting but the story is so compelling that he quickly becomes "just" the narrator of a very good story.
I enjoyed the experience very, very much and quite recommend it.
My favorite genres are absurdist humor, Sci-fi & modern fantasy, but, as you can see, I'll read just about anything. Don't mind the typos.
Great idea, great characters, good narrator, slow story, I kept wanting to jump ahead. It held my attention well at first but I struggled to pay attention to the narrator about half way through.
This is a grand and at the same time deeply claustrophobic adventure. The setting, between the great wars, is perfect for the precise and scientific exploration of haunting and horrid, menacing presence.
Dark Matter succeeds as an intelligent, evocative and visceral ghost story and its central metaphor remains strong and intact, evolving and gaining depth as the deeply personal narrative unfolds.
Jeremy Northam is superb and reveals how great and majestic a craft narration can be.
Jeremy Northam is superb in his narration. Most of the text is in the main character's mind, rather than spoken aloud. Northam's take on this book really brought to light the idea that the character is speaking to himself. The narration brought this book to life.
I LOVE haunting, atmospheric writing that plays in your head like a movie. I adore books of a mysterious, suspenseful and creepy nature. I am a big fan of Horror/Zombie/Apocalypse and other genres which center on Mystery and strong character development.
YES.YES.YES. If you are looking for a creepy, atmospheric haunting with strong character development and an engaging, original story then grab this one!!! This author KNOWS scary. Her ability to write had me absorb every word, the atmosphere she creates is incredible and the fear that accompanies isolation and darkness is executed perfectly in her writing.
Jack is a reclusive, defensive ass...yet I bet anyone could relate on some level, I did.
Best narrator I've heard yet! He carries the words well, perfectly.
The bear post.....oh God and the window checking. I don't want to spoil anything!!!
I picked this book based on reviews and I couldn't be more satisfied. I even loved the ending----how many horror writers can successfully pull those off??? I'm a big critic that way. This author has just made it to my top #2 and trust me I read a LOT of horror!!! SO GOOD!
Wonderfully creepy and surprisingly claustrophobic tale. Narration is superb. Very well written. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a love of ghost stories.
I have never read anything by Michelle Paver before so this was a pleasent surprise. A chillng ghost-story set in the most desolate and isolated enviroment imaginable and with characters that really feels alive. I'm usually not very fond of novels written in diary-form but Michelle Paver's prose pulls it through all the way to the ghastly ending.
I recommend the book to anyone interested in good ghost-stories and will certainly look up her other works as well.
An Exhibition to the high artic seems fated to end poorly even before it starts. An uneasy Norwegian captain who knows more than he will acknowledge; all but three of the team struck down before even landing; and gruesome artifacts of other unsuccessful enterprises found on the bay shore at which the team plans to overwinter, all seem to point at the reality that nobody wants to acknowledge: this place is haunted. Shortly after the team arrives uneasiness sets in and through some unfortunate circumstances Jack is to be left for a short time alone to man the station. This is in October 1937 and the sun has already set for the last time of the season. Events are told through the entries in Jack's journal and slowly we watch Jack lose control as terror seeps into every action and every perception. How long can he hold the fort until the others come and save him? He has a radio, dogs and even has a visitor but ultimately the winter is setting in and the ice will soon settle the question of his rescue. Meanwhile every month comes the moonless sky and the nothingness that threatens to consume him.
This is a wonderful piece of horror fiction that slowly ratchets up the tension and uneasiness. It is unsettling yet compelling and was a true “page turner” that I almost listened to completely in one sitting. As I read I wondered: “which is more horrifying: the ghost we see or the ghost we create in our minds?”, “How much of our sanity is linked to the things we call reality – light, color, other people, sound?”, and “Are their things that we don’t understand or want to acknowledge that exist beyond this reality?” Jack must balance these questions with other forces pulling on him, such as rationality, duty, loyalty, honor, and love.
I felt the length and the pacing of the story were perfect. In these days where every novel is part of a trilogy or massive in length, it was refreshing to encounter a tight little story as complete and satisfying as this one. I highly recommend this for fans of horror or psychological thrillers. To me this story had elements of “The Shining”, “The Thing”, and “The Turn of the Screw.”
This was a pretty good ghost story. Not a ton of action, but the plot builds up nicely to the end. Story is well written with plenty of details and flow to keep you listening well after you stop your car. Recommended.
"The Best Kind of Horror"
This book's supernatural bent was so compelling and gripping because it seemed so grounded in reality. The writing and narrating made you feel that yes, this could happen and did happen. An otherworldly place like the Arctic is the perfect place for such a ghost story. At one point, I caught myself on the train, eyes wide, staring in terror at nothing as one of the creepier passages played out in my ears. One of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and listened to it in just two sittings. It's not so much a ghost story as a tale of the human mind in isolation - and what happens to Jack when the dark closes in. I won't give away the plot but the story is written mostly in the form of diary entries and the first person narrative makes for compulsive reading. Ms. Paver is a new author for me and this is beautifully written. Her descriptions of the setting polar sun, arctic winter and total isolation - to name but a few - make me want to read more from her. I've downloaded a few Audible books recently and have to say that this is by far the best narration I've listened to. It's one of those books which you simply cannot put down (or should that be 'switch off'?!)
I enjoyed Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness very much and so gave this offering a chance. The narration is weak. The voices are not well developed enough to separate from Jeremy Northam and become who they are in the book. Maybe that didn't help. I still didn't connect with the story or the characters and that was disappointing. I'll give Michelle Paver's future output a chance but this has lowered my expectations.
"Ghost, what ghost?"
I really wanted to like this audio book, an important reason being that at least one other reviewer had rated it so highly compared to " Woman in Black " which I was actually going to buy. Another important factor was Jack's background as a specialist radio operator, a subject dear to my heart, and of which I have not inconsiderable experience.
However, in respect of the latter, it didn't really seem plausible that Jack's physics degree would have led to him undergoing training as a radio operator, even in the pre- WW2 era. Then, the whole aspect of the role of radio in the expedition seemed to be glossed over. It wasn't until well into the book that the radio masts were even mentioned, and yet I felt this should have been a most important part of the story from early on, i.e. on remote Spitzbergen radio communication was a vital component of the expedition. Once again it was well into the plot that the " Eddystone " was mentioned. These were widely used receivers in the marine field, but would they have been used on a 1937 land based expedition?; I'm not convinced. If I'm wrong, it would have been nice of the author to share the detail, i.e. which model Eddystone exactly the 358 or the 335 perhaps?. Later on the " Austin " was mentioned, and yet I have never heard of such an entity in the radio field; once again detail would have benn nice for authenticity even if it would not have meant much to the average reader/listener.
Elsewhere I found this quote from Ms Paver;
"Dark Matter is my attempt to capture the beauty and menace of the Arctic – in a ghost story that will scare the hell out of you.”
Well sorry, but it didn't scare me at all. OK I'm not easily scared, but once again it would have been nice to have had some detail, apart from the heavy footfalls and the malevolence.
I also found many aspects of the plot unconvincing, which the text limit will not permit to explore.
Clearly most others have found the book worthwhile, but not for me, sorry
"A chilling tale."
This is a ghost story in which the ghost is a very real presence. No wraith-like spectre here. This ghost is a real physical presence in the story.
I enjoyed the descriptions of the harsh conditions in which the expedition took place. The listener accompanies Jack throughout the adventure that soon changes into an ordeal.
Jack's mental deterioration is convincingly described and the atmosphere created is genuinely 'creepy'.
So why did I give it four rather than five stars?
I think it's because I felt the story lost some momentum towards the end. Don't let that put you off though. This is a gripping tale and it's very well told here.
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