Eowan Ivey’s To the Bright Edge of the World had me remembering the startling blue of the icebergs and the crisp cold of the Alaskan air when I visited several years ago. Ivey’s story is based on the actual 1885 expedition of Colonel Allen Forrester, and references diaries and letters from the exploration of the newly acquired Alaskan Territory as the foundation for a compelling epistolary novel.

The real Forrester explored over a thousand miles of wilderness and become the first to chart the Copper River, leading an expedition as significant as Lewis and Clark’s.  The novel uses the imagined letters of Colonel Forrester to his wife, Sophie, as well as his formal accounting of his findings as he travels the unexplored Wolverine River area in Northern Alaska with a small crew.

Forced to remain behind because of her pregnancy, Sophie keeps her own journal and sends letters to her husband.  When she miscarries, Sophie, a former schoolteacher with a penchant for studying birds, purchases a camera, and embarks on her own expedition to capture pictures of nesting birds in the woods surrounding her home at Vancouver Barracks in Washington.

Set in the Alaskan landscape, Eowyn Ivey’s To The Bright Edge of the World  is a breathtaking story of discovery set at the end of the nineteenth century, sure to appeal to fans of A Place Called Winter .

Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska’s hitherto impassable Wolverine River, with only a small group of men. The Wolverine is the key to opening up Alaska and its rich natural resources to the outside world, but previous attempts have ended in tragedy.

Forrester leaves behind his young wife, Sophie, newly pregnant with the child he had never expected to have. Adventurous in spirit, Sophie does not relish the prospect of a year in a military barracks while her husband carves a path through the wilderness. What she does not anticipate is that their year apart will demand every ounce of courage and fortitude of her that it does of her husband.

I am a big fan of 19th century arctic and other journeys -- for fossils, mapping, searching for the unknown. Got this based on a librarian's glowing rec. I made it about halfway through (kind of against my will -- time, you know) and it just couldn't keep me turning the pages. I recommend Andrea Barrett's Voyage of the Narwhal.

There was just enough wonder and variety to prevent this book from being too saccharine. It isn't the sort of historical writing that normally captivates me, but I give the author credit for introducing the correspondence between two unlikely contemporary characters, and the historical artifacts. While I began by listening to the audiobook, I quickly became curious about the route taken by the explorers. The maps, photographs, news clippings and other items saved from the 1880s added an interesting layer to the story.

An engaging historical novel based loosely on the 1885 expedition of Lt. Henry T. Allen to ascend the Copper River into Interior Alaska and westward, 1,500 miles into the wilderness. I gained renewed admiration for New World explorers, dependent on the kindness of the natives and cooperation of the elements and their own skill and strength. The story of Col. Allen Forrester and his wife Sophie gives you a feel for army life in 1885, the role of women, and the beginnings of avian photography. Magical themes from Alaskan folklore add to the richness.

Magical realism may most frequently be associated with Latin-American literature, but Pulitzer Prize finalist Eowyn Ivey ( The Snow Child ) has proven that the technique works equally well in novels set in distinctly chillier locales. Her second novel, To the Bright Edge of the World , is a spellbinding tale of adventure that blends myth and historical fiction and takes readers into the heart of the untamed wilderness of the Alaskan frontier.

Filled with love, loss, grief and joy, To the Bright Edge of the World is a cracking adventure that pulses with emotional power and a brutal kind of beauty. Though the story is filled with tender correspondence between Allen and Sophie, the book itself stands as a love letter from Ivey to her home state: Even at their most harrowing, her descriptions of Alaska’s sweeping wilds are breathtaking and evocative. With rich prose, compelling characters and elegant storytelling, To the Bright Edge of the World brings history and folklore to life in a visceral and utterly beguiling way.

This article was originally published in the  August 2016  issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the  Kindle  or  Nook .

    Eowan Ivey’s To the Bright Edge of the World had me remembering the startling blue of the icebergs and the crisp cold of the Alaskan air when I visited several years ago. Ivey’s story is based on the actual 1885 expedition of Colonel Allen Forrester, and references diaries and letters from the exploration of the newly acquired Alaskan Territory as the foundation for a compelling epistolary novel.

The real Forrester explored over a thousand miles of wilderness and become the first to chart the Copper River, leading an expedition as significant as Lewis and Clark’s.  The novel uses the imagined letters of Colonel Forrester to his wife, Sophie, as well as his formal accounting of his findings as he travels the unexplored Wolverine River area in Northern Alaska with a small crew.

Forced to remain behind because of her pregnancy, Sophie keeps her own journal and sends letters to her husband.  When she miscarries, Sophie, a former schoolteacher with a penchant for studying birds, purchases a camera, and embarks on her own expedition to capture pictures of nesting birds in the woods surrounding her home at Vancouver Barracks in Washington.

Set in the Alaskan landscape, Eowyn Ivey’s To The Bright Edge of the World  is a breathtaking story of discovery set at the end of the nineteenth century, sure to appeal to fans of A Place Called Winter .

Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska’s hitherto impassable Wolverine River, with only a small group of men. The Wolverine is the key to opening up Alaska and its rich natural resources to the outside world, but previous attempts have ended in tragedy.

Forrester leaves behind his young wife, Sophie, newly pregnant with the child he had never expected to have. Adventurous in spirit, Sophie does not relish the prospect of a year in a military barracks while her husband carves a path through the wilderness. What she does not anticipate is that their year apart will demand every ounce of courage and fortitude of her that it does of her husband.

    Eowan Ivey’s To the Bright Edge of the World had me remembering the startling blue of the icebergs and the crisp cold of the Alaskan air when I visited several years ago. Ivey’s story is based on the actual 1885 expedition of Colonel Allen Forrester, and references diaries and letters from the exploration of the newly acquired Alaskan Territory as the foundation for a compelling epistolary novel.

The real Forrester explored over a thousand miles of wilderness and become the first to chart the Copper River, leading an expedition as significant as Lewis and Clark’s.  The novel uses the imagined letters of Colonel Forrester to his wife, Sophie, as well as his formal accounting of his findings as he travels the unexplored Wolverine River area in Northern Alaska with a small crew.

Forced to remain behind because of her pregnancy, Sophie keeps her own journal and sends letters to her husband.  When she miscarries, Sophie, a former schoolteacher with a penchant for studying birds, purchases a camera, and embarks on her own expedition to capture pictures of nesting birds in the woods surrounding her home at Vancouver Barracks in Washington.

    Eowan Ivey’s To the Bright Edge of the World had me remembering the startling blue of the icebergs and the crisp cold of the Alaskan air when I visited several years ago. Ivey’s story is based on the actual 1885 expedition of Colonel Allen Forrester, and references diaries and letters from the exploration of the newly acquired Alaskan Territory as the foundation for a compelling epistolary novel.

The real Forrester explored over a thousand miles of wilderness and become the first to chart the Copper River, leading an expedition as significant as Lewis and Clark’s.  The novel uses the imagined letters of Colonel Forrester to his wife, Sophie, as well as his formal accounting of his findings as he travels the unexplored Wolverine River area in Northern Alaska with a small crew.

Forced to remain behind because of her pregnancy, Sophie keeps her own journal and sends letters to her husband.  When she miscarries, Sophie, a former schoolteacher with a penchant for studying birds, purchases a camera, and embarks on her own expedition to capture pictures of nesting birds in the woods surrounding her home at Vancouver Barracks in Washington.

Set in the Alaskan landscape, Eowyn Ivey’s To The Bright Edge of the World  is a breathtaking story of discovery set at the end of the nineteenth century, sure to appeal to fans of A Place Called Winter .

Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska’s hitherto impassable Wolverine River, with only a small group of men. The Wolverine is the key to opening up Alaska and its rich natural resources to the outside world, but previous attempts have ended in tragedy.

Forrester leaves behind his young wife, Sophie, newly pregnant with the child he had never expected to have. Adventurous in spirit, Sophie does not relish the prospect of a year in a military barracks while her husband carves a path through the wilderness. What she does not anticipate is that their year apart will demand every ounce of courage and fortitude of her that it does of her husband.

I am a big fan of 19th century arctic and other journeys -- for fossils, mapping, searching for the unknown. Got this based on a librarian's glowing rec. I made it about halfway through (kind of against my will -- time, you know) and it just couldn't keep me turning the pages. I recommend Andrea Barrett's Voyage of the Narwhal.

There was just enough wonder and variety to prevent this book from being too saccharine. It isn't the sort of historical writing that normally captivates me, but I give the author credit for introducing the correspondence between two unlikely contemporary characters, and the historical artifacts. While I began by listening to the audiobook, I quickly became curious about the route taken by the explorers. The maps, photographs, news clippings and other items saved from the 1880s added an interesting layer to the story.

An engaging historical novel based loosely on the 1885 expedition of Lt. Henry T. Allen to ascend the Copper River into Interior Alaska and westward, 1,500 miles into the wilderness. I gained renewed admiration for New World explorers, dependent on the kindness of the natives and cooperation of the elements and their own skill and strength. The story of Col. Allen Forrester and his wife Sophie gives you a feel for army life in 1885, the role of women, and the beginnings of avian photography. Magical themes from Alaskan folklore add to the richness.

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey review – a.


To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel: Eowyn Ivey.

Posted by 2018 article

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