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To the Bright Edge of the World
By Eowyn Ivey
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The Wolverine River Valley is not only breathtaking and forbidding but also terrifying in ways that the colonel and his men never could have imagined. As they map the territory and gather information on the native tribes, whose understanding of the natural world is unlike anything they have ever encountered, Forrester and his men discover the blurred lines between human and wild animal, the living and the dead. And while the men knew they would face starvation and danger, they cannot escape the sense that some greater, mysterious force threatens their lives.
Meanwhile, on her own at Vancouver Barracks, Sophie chafes under the social restrictions and yearns to travel alongside her husband. She does not know that the winter will require as much of her as it does her husband, that both her courage and faith will be tested to the breaking point. Can her exploration of nature through the new art of photography help her to rediscover her sense of beauty and wonder?
The truths that Allen and Sophie discover over the course of that fateful year change both of their lives–and the lives of those who hear their stories long after they’re gone–forever.
A Washington Post Notable Book
A Goodreads Choice Award Nominee
A Library Journal Top 10 Book of the Year
A BookPage Best Book of the Year
Table of Contents
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Attention Mr. Joshua Sloan
Alpine Historical Museum
I warned you I am a stubborn old man. These boxes have the papers I told you about, the letters and journals from my great-uncle's 1885 expedition across Alaska. I know you said you weren't able to take them on, but I'm sending them anyways. You'll change your mind once you read through all this. Truth be told, I don't have much choice. I never had children of my own, and all the relatives are dead. When my turn comes, these papers will be thrown out with everything else. For most of my life they have been crammed in trunks and boxes, and they show signs of wear. It would be a shame for them to be lost altogether.
The Colonel's journey was a harrowing one. Maybe it was doomed from the beginning, but I don't see as to how that takes away from its importance. His expedition is surely the Alaskan equivalent of Lewis and Clark's, and these papers are some of the earliest, firsthand descriptions of those northern lands and natives.
Several of his private journal entries are downright fantastical and don't align with his official reports. Some who have read these pages write off the odder occurrences as hallucinations, brought on by starvation and exposure to the elements. Others have accused the Colonel of embellishing his journals in order to gain notoriety. But I tell you, he was neither a hysteric nor a charlatan. He was a West Point graduate who fought in the Indian Wars and negotiated himself out of capture by the Apaches, yet by all accounts he never sought the limelight. I've chosen to consider another possibility—that he described what he saw with his own two eyes. It takes a kind of arrogance to think everything in the world can be measured and weighed with our scientific instruments. The Colonel started out with those sorts of assumptions, and as you will see, it did not serve him well.
Along with the journals and reports, I'm also sending some of my great-aunt Sophie's writing. There are illustrations and photographs, newspaper clippings—odds and ends I've stumbled across over the years. I thought of going through and stripping them all out, but some of it might be of interest to you.
I won't yet mail the artifacts from the expedition. I've held on to everything I can, but most of them are in a fragile state and might not make it to Alaska and back. I've had them appraised, and you'll find a description of each item and what kind of condition it's in.
Read it all over. If you change your mind and see fit to make room for it at your museum, I will gladly send everything I have.
Mid-19th Century, Unsigned.
Allen Forrester Collection.
Original fitted mahogany case with key. Includes cast-iron reflecting tray and mercury bottle, brass-framed glazed pyramid cover. Designed to aid in celestial navigation when darkness, fog, or land features obscure natural horizon. Mercury is poured onto the reflecting tray, so providing a level reflecting surface, and the image is sighted with a sextant to provide a "double altitude."
Diary of Lieut. Col. Allen Forrester
March 21, 1885
Perkins Island, Alaska
I do not know the time. The depths of night. It may already be tomorrow. I cannot see my own words, but write as I can by moonlight so as to record my first thoughts. In the morning I may deem it outlandish. For now I am slightly shaken.
I rose moments ago & left the tent to relieve myself. With the moon, I did not bother to light a lantern. I slid my feet into boots without tying laces & made my way into the trees. The only sound was of the sea washing at the beach. It is true, I was barely awake, my eyes bleary. As I turned back towards the tent, I heard a rustling overhead. I looked up into moonlight broken by silver shadow & black branches. I expected an animal, perhaps an owl roosted, but it was the old Eyak Indian up in the boughs of the spruce. His face was obscured, but I knew his spare frame, black hat atop his head. Moonlight glinted off the strange decorations at his neck.
He crouched high in the branches, silent. I do not know if he saw me. I made no motion towards him, half fearing he would fall from the branches if startled.
I would find it a chore to climb the tree, but could if needed. An old man with a lame leg—what could propel him upward? Perhaps he fled from a bear. Could he have climbed the tree in a fit of fear? It does not suit his character. The Eyak seems an unflappable sort. He looked as if he sat comfortably in those branches, perhaps even slept.
I am left vaguely uneasy. As if I witnessed a bird flying underwater or a fish swimming across the sky.
We leave Perkins Island at daybreak, whether we have the men or not. For too long we have postponed on promises from the Eyaks that their men will return from hunting sea otter to join us. We are left with three young Eyaks too young for the hunt & the crippled old man. They say he knows these waters so can pilot us to the mouth of the Wolverine River. I cannot wait another day with the Alaska mainland nearly within our reach. We were weeks delayed by Army affairs in Sitka, only to have fog slow our journey aboard the USS Pinta. All too soon the Wolverine could break free in a torrent of slush, ice slabs, & impassable rapids. If the river runs wide open, we will make it no farther than Haigh's attempt. I fear already for the ice at the canyon.
I write at the tent door. Lieut. Pruitt once again goes through instruments. He polishes the glass pyramid of the artificial horizon & rechecks the movement of the Howard watch. It has become a nervous habit of his that I can understand.
Sgt. Tillman has his own tic. He worries for our food supply. Will we have enough hardtack? he asks three times a day. Says again he is not fond of pea soup, prefers to sledge chocolate up the river. Myself, I pace the shore of this small northern island & look out across the sound. We are men anxious to be about our mission.
The Eyak watches us from where he sits at the base of a great spruce tree, the same one he roosted in last night. The old man is never without his brimmed black hat & gentleman's vest, yet he also dons the hide trousers & shift of his people. His black hair is cropped at the shoulders. At his neck is a bizarre ornament, similar in pattern to the dentalium shells many of the Indians wear, but instead made of small animal bones, teeth, shiny bits of glass & metal. As he watches us, his broad face wears an odd expression. Amusement. Ferocity. I cannot make it out. Even the women & children of the island seem wary of him. The old man glowers, says nothing, only to laugh at inopportune times. This morning Sgt. Tillman slipped on the icy rocks near the row boats, fell hard to his knees. The old man cackled. Tillman got to his feet & went to grab him by his vest collar. The sergeant is no small fellow. Built like a brick s—– house, always on the look-out for a fistfight, the general said as way of introduction. I have no doubt he would make quick work of the old Eyak.
—Leave him be, I said, though I sympathized. The old man sets my nerves on end as well. To see him up in that tree in the darkest hours has done nothing to put me at ease. I would take another guide if given choice.
The trapper Samuelson will go with us as far as the mouth of the Wolverine. He would be invaluable traveling farther as he knows rudimentary forms of most of the native languages & has traveled much of the lower river. He expects the Wolverine River Indians, the ones called Midnooskies after the Russian, to bring a message from his trapping partner with plans of meeting him at the mouth before they decide where to spend the season. I continue to try to cajole him into joining our expedition, but he resists. No man's land at the headwaters of the Wolverine, he says. He does not fear the Indians' vicious reputation but instead the inhospitable terrain, the unpredictable river.
As to the character of the upper Wolverine River Indians, the white trader Mr. Jenson does his best to terrorize us with stories. He tells of how they slaughtered the Russians while they slept in their sleds, then cut away the dead men's genitalia to stuff them back in their own mouths.
Mr. Jenson operates the Alaska Commercial Co. trading store here on the island, claims to keep his own Indians in line only through a tough fist. He is one of the more unlikable men I have encountered. He drinks heavily & trades alcohol with the island natives, only to complain of their drunkenness. He brags of his cunning dealings with the natives, how he undercuts them for prime hides. He then advises us to never turn a blind eye to any Indian, as they are liars & thieves.
I avoid the trader as I can, but he seeks me out with stories of murderous plots against him. This island village becomes smaller by the day. We pace, check supplies, watch the skies, ask when the otter hunters will return.
Despite our restless & bored state, we are not untouched by the spectacularity of our surroundings. This land has a vast & cold beauty. Sun everywhere glints off blue sea, ice, snow. The refraction of light is as sharp as the cry of the sea birds overhead. The island is a rough outcropping of gray cliff, evergreen forests, & rocky beaches. Across the sound on clear days, I make out the mountains of mainland Alaska. They are still white with winter.
Last evening at dusk, a brown bear ambled down the beach, shuffled among our row boats. Today we measured a single paw print in the sand to be as wide as a man's two hands outstretched side by side.
My thoughts go to Sophie whenever I am not at work, yet I cannot afford such indulgence. I must keep my mind to the task at hand.
Special Order No. 16
Headquarters Department of the Columbia
Vancouver Barracks, Washington Territory
January 7, 1885
By authority of the Lieutenant-General of the Army conveyed this day by telegram, Lieutenant-Colonel Allen Forrester is hereby authorized to lead a reconnaissance into Alaska traveling up the Wolverine River. Lieutenant Andrew Pruitt and Sergeant Bradley Tillman are ordered to report to Colonel Forrester with the purpose of accompanying his reconnaissance.
The objective is to map the interior of the Territory and document information regarding the native tribes in order to be prepared for any future serious disturbances between the United States government and the natives of the Territory. The reconnaissance will also attempt to ascertain whether and how a military force would be sustained in this region if necessary, including information about climate, severity of winter, and means of communication and types of weapons in possession of the natives. Information should be gathered and documented thoroughly along the reconnaissance in the event that the expedition must be abandoned.
Colonel Forrester is ordered to make full reports to headquarters, including itineraries, maps, and field observations, whenever possible. If needed, as many as five native scouts may be employed. The expedition party should aim to arrive at the mouth of the Wolverine River by the beginning of March so as to travel up the river by ice.
Because of the peculiar, unknown circumstances of such a reconnaissance, Colonel Forrester is left to his discretion regarding travels beyond the Wolverine River. At all times, the men will exercise care and strict economy of their stores. Ample provisions have been provided for the journey.
If the reconnaissance is successful, the party should arrive at the well-mapped Yukon River before winter, where the men might board a steamboat to the coast. Colonel Forrester will then arrange transportation of himself and his men aboard a revenue cutter.
Best wishes for success and safe return, By command of Major-General Keirn: Stanley Harter, Assistant Adjutant-General
Lieut. Col. Allen Forrester
March 23, 1885
We remain tonight on Perkins Island, but at least we are gone from the village & the trader Jenson. We camp on the northern side of the island, directly across the sound from the Wolverine River. The journey so far drags against our will.
Jenson warned we would be unable to launch our boats into the waves. This only spurred our determination. We rose for our departure this morning to a dreary rain & rough seas. The trader was out of his bed earlier than I have ever seen him, only to stand watch over our efforts with much naysaying. We loaded the row boats in near dark & divided the men. Pruitt, the old man, two Eyaks & I to one boat—Samuelson, Tillman & the third young Eyak to the other. I ordered the three young Indians to give the final heave-ho & jump aboard last.
Too busy fighting the oars against the surf, I noticed nothing amiss until Tillman's bark.
—Hell! Do we go back for them?
I looked up. Through the gloom I could just make out the Indians at shore. The waves broke at their knees. They gave no expression. One held up a hand. I could not read it. Did they wave farewell, or were they left against their will? Did they intend to stay behind even as they nodded to my terms? Whatever the cause, I would not retrieve them. We had just managed to clear the surf. I cut my hand through the air, out into the sound.
—Onward, I said.
We set into the cold wet gray. Just two strong rowers to a boat. The old Eyak was of no use. We were undermanned from the start.
Daylight improved nothing. Waves chopped at the boat sides. Wind kicked up sea spray, drenched the supplies through canvas tarps. We traveled north along the coast of the island. A cluster of rocks rose before us. I called out to veer to open water. The old man spoke for the first time then, a throaty chortle that was meaningless to me. The trapper understood.
—He says keep close to shore through here.
—What you say?
The boats rose, teetered on the waves, & carried us towards the rocks.
—That's what he says. Keep close in.
I looked to where the old man perched in the bow. His vest flapped in the wind. His eyes were wild, & he grinned or grimaced, I could not tell.
—It's no good, Tillman hollered into the wind.
I had to agree. The waves would dash the row boats to bits against the rocks. But why bring the old man if not to guide us? He has known these bays & inlets all his long life. The Eyaks said he could get us to mainland.
Our boats threatened to turn sidelong to the swells. Waves broke over the gunwales.
—Do as he says, I called.—Head in.
I had no time to regret my order. The sea took us like driftwood & threw us to the rocks. We scraped our way past the outcroppings only to be swept up by whirlpools at the base of the island cliffs. The boats rotated, heaved, & creaked. Salt spray blinded us. I thought I heard the old Eyak cackle from the bow. Perhaps it was the gulls. What kind of mad man laughs as he drowns?
I cannot say how long we battled the sea & cliff face. Tillman stood at his stern, shoved his oar to the cliff to lever the boat. Even his considerable strength was no match for the sea. Pruitt howled as his hand was smashed between bow & rock. Samuelson let out a string of curses like none I have heard before.
When at last we freed ourselves from the roiling current, we pulled at the oars until our hearts would burst. We kept on until we rode even swells with no rocks in sight.
Tillman navigated his boat closer to ours. I thought he came to set our plan, but instead he threw down his oars, leapt across to our boat. Before I knew his intent, he grabbed the old man by the shirt front to jerk him to his feet.
—What the devil is the matter with you? Tillman yelled into the old Eyak's face.—You'd kill us all!
The old man did not blink. He should have feared for his life. Instead he grinned, his teeth worn nubs. He then spoke with his guttural clucks & hard stops.
—What does he say? Tillman turned to Samuelson.
The trapper hesitated, as if not sure to repeat it.
—He says he's been hungry for many days.
—That's what he says. He's hungry.
Tillman shoved the old man.
—So he'd take us all to hell?
Tillman moved to throw him overboard. The old man squawked a kind of laugh or yelp. I was tempted to let him be sent to the sea, but thought better of it.
—Enough, Tillman. We'll be rid of him soon enough.
The sergeant hesitated. I thought he would disobey. My misgivings about his reputation were roused, but he shoved the old man back down into the boat.
We returned to rowing without talk or pause. Our progress was slow. Not until early afternoon did we round to the north side of Perkins Island.
—The old man says a storm is coming, Samuelson said.
Why should we believe him? None of us trusts the Eyak now.
—I don't know but maybe we should listen to him this time around, Samuelson said. We all followed his eyes towards the horizon where clouds were building.
—He says there is a safe landing just the other side of that point.
This time the old man did not deceive. A cold torrent chased us to shore. We built no fire but quickly raised the tent amongst the trees & climbed in wet, shivering, weary. The old Eyak remains outside, where to none of us knows or much cares. Rain slaps the canvas tent in a noisy pattering. We eat cold beef from tins, all of us crowded shoulder to shoulder.
I asked Samuelson why the young Indians stayed behind.
—Of the Midnooskies?
—No. The trader Jenson. He expects them to help with the otter pelts when the hunters come back.
—It is a notable amount of sway he holds over them, I observed.
—They aren't Jenson's slaves quite yet, but give him time, Samuelson said.—I have seen him yank an Indian child from his mother's hands in trade for furs the father didn't bring in.
—What would a white man want with an Indian child?
—Fear, the trapper said.
We may sail along the border, or be drawn by sledge-dogs over the frozen streams, until we arrive at the coldest, farthest west, separated from the rudest, farthest east by a narrow span of ocean, bridged in winter by thick-ribbed ice. What then can be said of this region—this Ultima Thule of the known world, whose northern point is but three or four degrees south of the highest latitude yet reached by man?
—From History of Alaska: 1730–1885, Hubert Howe Bancroft, 1886
Diary of Sophie Forrester
January 6, 1885
Oh such amazing news! The General has granted permission so that I will accompany Allen and his men on the steamer north! For days now it has seemed increasingly unlikely, and I am certain it was only Allen's steady, persistent resolve that has won me passage. Of course, I go only as far as Sitka and will return to the barracks the end of February; I will not even set eyes on the northern mainland where their true adventure will begin, but I am thrilled all the same. Allen, too, is pleased. He charged into the sitting room this afternoon and announced, "You'll go, my love! Haywood said you'll go!"
Now there is much for me to do. Until today, I followed Mother's advice and did not "count my chickens before they hatched," but consequently I have made no preparations. We expect to board within the month. What should I bring? An abundance of warm clothes. Definitely my walking boots, for I am told the deck is often treacherous with ice and sea spray. My field glasses and notebooks of course, with plenty of spare pencils.
There is this, too—a new diary. I resisted when Allen first gave it to me and said my field notebooks suit me fine. His playful reply was that when he returns from Alaska, he would like to hear about more than the habits of nuthatches and chickadees.
I could not then imagine that my days would hold anything of interest: the long train journey to Vermont, the return to my childhood home. Maybe if I were allowed to walk as far as the quarry pond to watch for the pintails and grebes, or to go to the forest in search of Father's sculptures (how I would love for Allen to see them someday, especially the sea serpent and the old bear), maybe then I would have something to record. Yet I will never be permitted such wanderings. "Shame is the only fruit of idleness." How many times did I hear those words as a little girl? Mother is always at the washboard and rags, the rake and the weeds, and she will expect the same of me. Who would want to hear such a diary read aloud?
But now! Now I will have something to write in these pages, for I am going to Alaska!
I cannot help but be caught up in the excitement. Supplies arrive daily from various parts of the country—tents, sleeping bags, snowshoes, nearly one thousand rations for the men! I do not know how Allen keeps it all in order. This morning, just as he was about to kiss me goodbye at the door, he said, "Yes, Pruitt will be out with the camera, but Tillman can sort the rifles and ammunition. That way I can get to the telegraph office." He must get word to Sitka, by British Columbia and then mail steamer, that he will need several sledges built and ready when we arrive.
And then, during my afternoon walk, I happened across Mr Pruitt with his camera near the stable. Allen says the Lieutenant has only recently learned photography in order to document their expedition, so he is practicing as much as he is able. Today, the blacksmith was his reluctant subject.
They made an amusing scene, Mr Pruitt so studious and fair-skinned, with his red hair trimmed boyishly; the grimed smith, in leather apron and rolled up sleeves, looking particularly unhappy with having to stand for his picture to be taken. Mr Pruitt peered out from the black cloth and quietly asked the blacksmith to turn his shoulder this way and his chin that, to which the smith obeyed with considerable grumbling.
More than anything, I wanted to ask Mr Pruitt how the camera works, how it can be taken afield, and to even see some of his images, but I thought better than to interrupt him.
Such an extraordinary notion, to be able to seal light and shadow to the page in such a way. I often think of the photographs Allen and I saw in a Boston studio—the old woman with her pipe, a little boy riding a giant dog, and a whimsical scene of actors dressed in animal masks. Startlingly vivid, each of them, so that there was a silvery texture to the fabric and skin, and a quality of light that seemed truly magical, as if life glowed from within the paper itself.
I envy Mr Pruitt that he will document the Far North with such a device! (Alas, I will bring on board only my notebooks and poor drawing skills. It seems a curse, that one should love the work of a naturalist yet be so ill-suited for it.)
I did not expect to be the cause of such a stir. One would think I was to leave on a polar expedition. During tea this afternoon at Mrs Connor's house, the officers' wives reacted with everything from alarm to squealing delight to know that I will go as far as Sitka with Allen and his men.
Where in heaven's name will you sleep? You must bring extra quilts so you won't freeze in the night! What about the polar bears? They are man-eaters! (I explained to Mrs Bailey that to my knowledge the white bears live much farther north than I will venture, so I will not be in their danger.) The food on board will be dreadful, mark my words. And the seasickness you'll endure! Best pack a tin of good biscuits for yourself.
I should have predicted Miss Evelyn's response. "At least one nice gown. You must have that. You never know when there might be some fine occasion—don't make that face at me Mrs Forrester, you could end up having dinner at the governor's house in Sitka—and it's appalling to be underdressed."
Sarah Whithers was the only one who offered sound advice.
"Do you have a good Mackintosh, to keep off the rain and snow?" And the dear, timid woman said I could have hers, as she had recently been given a new one; I thanked her but told her I had a raincoat, and that I would certainly remember to pack it in my trunk.
And then there was blustery Mrs Connor. "Never mind all this nonsense! Why on earth are you going?"
I apologized but said I did not take her meaning.
"Surely your husband can't make you go," she said.
Not go! I explained that it was my very desire to go, and that if permitted, I would accompany Allen the entire distance across Alaska.
"Absurd. There is no need for a bright young woman such as yourself to join in such idiocy. Leave it to the men to throw themselves off the face of the earth. They are quite adept at it by themselves."
What could I say in my defense?
"But isn't it romantic?" Mrs Whithers interjected. "Imagine a husband so distraught to be separated from you, that he brings you with him!"
Praise for TO THE BRIGHT EDGE OF THE WORLD:
"To the Bright Edge of the World moves seamlessly through different times and different voices to depict an often harrowing journey that leads the central characters to question all that they 'have known as real & true.' Ivey's novel is a dazzling depiction of love, endurance, courage, and wonder, and a worthy successor to The Snow Child."
—Ron Rash, author of Serena
"Beautifully told...a page-turner, a fascinating story that is broad in its scope as it is compassionate in its message...Ivey has created a world that is dangerous and beautiful, worrisome and satisfying, all in a novel that readers will not soon forget."
—Jim Carmin, The Miami Herald
"Powerful...Ivey is a gifted storyteller and a lyrical prose stylist...remarkable."
—Amy Greene, New York Times Book Review
"An epic adventure story that seems heir to the tradition of Melville's own sweeping and ambitious literary approach to the age-old struggle of humans versus nature...an absorbing and high-stakes read."
—Kathleen Rooney, The Chicago Tribune
"To the Bright Edge of the World is a glorious feast of American mythology. In it, Eowyn Ivey's Alaska blooms vast and untouchable, bulging with mystery and wonder, and lit by an uneasy midnight sun. On this haunted stage, the lines between man and beast are blurred, and Ivey has etched her most compelling characters: the incorruptible, determined Sophie Forrester, who wrestles with the rules of men and polite society; and her husband, the explorer Allen Forrester, who struggles mightily against the uncivilized Alaskan wilderness with its ragged teeth. Gorgeously written, utterly un-put-downable, To the Bright Edge of the World sweeps its reader to the very brink of known territory, and presents that bright edge in stark relief: gleaming, serrated, unforgiving. As with The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey has once again written a magical, breathtaking novel that I just cannot put out of my mind."
—Jason Gurley, author of Eleanor
"An exceptionally well-turned adventure tale...Heartfelt, rip-snorting storytelling."
—Kirkus (Starred Review)
"Eowyn Ivey is a deft craftswoman, attentive to the shape and heft of her sentences...[she] fashions characters who come to warm and vivid life against her frozen Alaskan landscapes...What could be a better beach read than an arctic adventure?"
—Geraldine Brooks, Guardian (US Edition)
"A stunning and intriguing novel combining the epic adventurous sweep of Alaska with minutely beautifully observed details--the reader finishes it wiser and richer."
—Rosamund Lupton, author of Sister and The Quality of Silence
"All the pleasures of a great novel are here--the well-crafted sentence, the deft pacing, the compelling plot, and characters that we care passionately about. Add to those already significant achievements a few eerie hints of the supernatural, some nail-biting mystery/thriller drama, the understanding that's gained from historically accurate details, and the endorphin rush of a love story. And then consider that the novel's construction provides yet another pleasure, the pleasure of the puzzle, as the reader gets to participate in the assemblage of journal entry, letter, drawing, and artifact, therefore co-creating this epic Alaskan adventure. How can one novel contain such richness? Eowyn Ivey is a wonder."
—Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
"An entrancing, occasionally chilling, depiction of turn-of-the-century Alaska...In this splendid adventure novel, Ivey captures Alaska's beauty and brutality, not just preserving history, but keeping it alive."
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Ivey deftly draws the reader into the perils of the journey...a compelling historical saga of survival."
—Booklist (Starred Review)
- "Ivey not only makes [this novel] work, she makes it work magnificently...The Snow Child (a lovely retelling of an old Russian folk tale), was a runaway hit, an international best seller, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her second work is even better."—Library Journal , (Starred Review)
- "Ivey's characters, without exception, are skillfully wrought and pull the narrative forward with little effort. She does not stoop to blanket depictions of tribal life or Victorian women, and instead has created a novel with all of the fine details that make historical fiction such an adventure to read. Fans of The Snow Child will not be disappointed."—Meganne Fabrega, Minneapolis Star Tribune
- "Lustrous...Ivey's writing is assured and deftly paced. She presents a pleasing chorus of voices and writing styles in an amalgam of journals, letters, newspaper clippings, greeting cards, official reports and more...The couple's moving love story binds the multilayered narrative together...Ivey's first novel, The Snow Child, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and her follow-up act is certain to garner its own accolades as readers discover its many unfolding pleasures."—David Takami, Seattle Times
"An 1880's Alaskan adventure that really delivers...a rip-roaring frontier adventure."
—Ellen Hoffman, Business Insider
"Raises the personal stakes and the emotional payoff to impressive new levels...a stunning and subtle performance...This is enchanted writing."
—Steve Donoghue, The Christian Science Monitor
"An American masterpiece...beautifully written, fast-paced, wide-ranging, historically-based, and creatively imagined and structured...It delivers in all the ways a great novel should...deserves every accolade it will surely receive."
—Nancy Lord, Alaska Dispatch News
"Ivey's simultaneous wide scope and focus on detail are part of what makes this novel so absorbing. It's no mere testosterone-fueled tale of heroism. Her narrative encompasses, however fleetingly, the girls and women at the margins."
—Laura Collins-Hughes, The Boston Globe
"Read it for the adventure. Read it for the time you'll spend thinking about it long after you've turned the last page."
—Erin Kodicek, Omnivoracious
"Spellbinding...a cracking adventure that pulses with emotional power and a brutal kind of beauty...brings history and folklore to life in a visceral and utterly beguiling way."
—Stephanie Harrison, Bookpage, Top Pick in Fiction for August
"A riveting story of adventure, mystery and love...Ivey populates her novel with rich supporting characters...a spellbinding Pacific Northwest historic fiction."
"This rich blend of adventure bravado and contemplative memoir, past and present, reinvigorates the idea of a historical novel."
—The National Book Review
"You feel the excitement and the wonder that [the characters] are experiencing. This is another magical novel from her [Ivey]."
- "A terrific example of why we love these stories of man-against-nature. But it also aspires to be something more...it's evident from Ivey's two books that she is also interested in the inexplicable magic of the world--real or imagined--that hovers just beyond our conscious perceptions. And so, while she is certainly deft at conveying the 'gray rivers that roar down from the glaciers, mountains & spruce valleys,' she is equally at home dropping a sea monster into those waters...To the Bright Edge of the World is a moving, surprising story. The Artic Addict in me is very grateful that Ivey wrote it."—Chris Bohjalian, The Washington Post
"An epic adventure intertwined with a story of genuine love."
—Shawna Seed, The Dallas Morning News
"Beautifully done...you'll get lost in the details and become engrossed in the love story playing out...Simply wonderful, and I cannot recommend it enough."
—Amy Gwiazdowski, BookReporter
"It's safe to say that Ivey fans will not be disappointed by this spine-tingling romantic odyssey."
—David Fox, Anchorage Press
- "The real journey in Eowyn Ivey's new novel transcends the physical landscape to a netherworld of magical, mysterious and sometimes diabolical proportions."—Betty J. Cotter, Providence Journal
- On Sale
- Aug 2, 2016
- Page Count
- 432 pages
- Little, Brown and Company