Sunday, February 6, 2011

dark matter is a ghost story with a reality twist from michelle paver

Subtitled “A Ghost Story”, Michelle Paver’s Dark Matter is a clever book that takes an historical story and adds a supernatural twist.
Set in 1937, Dark Matter followers a group of young Englishmen who attempt to winter in the arctic circle for purposes of scientific research.
Based on the Oxford University Arctic Expedition of 1935, the book attempts to be as authentic as possible when it comes to describing everything from the type of “chaps” who went on these types of adventures to the technical details of their equipment, and even what they did to entertain themselves.
Paver includes reference material at the end of the book, highlighting that some of the concepts which you may have thought creative licence really occurred.
What she doesn’t know is true or not is the central theme of the haunting – although she does point out in the support material that many of the men who went on the real expedition mentioned an uneasiness about the area of the base camp.
What makes Dark Matter a truly gothic horror story is the creeping sensation of depression, being watched and the possibility of going mad in the long, long night of winter in the Arctic.
Jack is not the same as his companions on the trip; he’s poor despite his education, he’s got a bit of a death wish and hates his life. When the opportunity for this expedition arrives he’s oddly reluctant to take it and escape his horribly boring life.
But agreeing to go, Jack decides he’s going to do his utmost to squeeze every ounce of experience from the trip.
Is it his obsession to survive and succeed over his richer teammates or his innate depression that leads to the terrible things that Jack actually experiences in the ice?
It’s only Paver’s skill that allows the reader to make up their own mind about what really happened up there in the dark.
Dark Matters is an interesting read; while it might not make you scared of the dark, it will certainly make you think.
And should you ever find yourself lost in the snow somewhere and remember reading this book, it will make you shiver.

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver is published by Orion Books and is available from good book stores and online.


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