To the Bright Edge of the World
by Eowyn Ivey

Overview - One of the Best Books of 2016--Amazon
A Washington Post Notable Book of 2016
A Goodreads Choice Award Nominee
A Library Journal Top 10 Book of 2016
A BookPage Best Book of 2016
An atmospheric, transporting tale of adventure, love, and survival from the bestselling author of The Snow Child , finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

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More About To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
One of the Best Books of 2016--Amazon
A Washington Post Notable Book of 2016
A Goodreads Choice Award Nominee
A Library Journal Top 10 Book of 2016
A BookPage Best Book of 2016
An atmospheric, transporting tale of adventure, love, and survival from the bestselling author of The Snow Child, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
In the winter of 1885, decorated war hero Colonel Allen Forrester leads a small band of men on an expedition that has been deemed impossible: to venture up the Wolverine River and pierce the vast, untamed Alaska Territory. Leaving behind Sophie, his newly pregnant wife, Colonel Forrester records his extraordinary experiences in hopes that his journal will reach her if he doesn't return--once he passes beyond the edge of the known world, there's no telling what awaits him.
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.

  • ISBN-13: 9780316242851
  • ISBN-10: 0316242853
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company
  • Publish Date: August 2016
  • Page Count: 432
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Literary

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-06-13
  • Reviewer: Staff

An 1885 wilderness expedition, a female pioneer of photography, and Native American myths come to life make Ivey’s second novel (after The Snow Child) an entrancing, occasionally chilling, depiction of turn-of-the-century Alaska. Through diaries, letters, reports, newspaper clippings, drawings, and photographs, Ivey evokes an Indian Wars veteran’s expedition up the Wolverine River into Alaska’s northern interior. Colonel Allen Forrester’s mission is to map the territory, make contact with inhabitants, and collect information for future (military or commercial) enterprises. While his wife, Sophie, remains in Vancouver, Forrester sets off with the intellectually gifted Pruitt and Sergeant Tillman, a rough-and-tumble miner’s son. Others joining the party include a trapper, his partner, a Native American woman who claims to have slit her husband’s throat, and a dog. But the strangest traveling companion, more nemesis than guide, is an old Native American known as the Man Who Flies on Black Wings, who is reputed to be a raven who can take the form of man. Bogged down by the terrain and his own ignorance, loosening ties to civilization if not reality, Pruitt succumbs to memories, and Forrester refuses to shoot wild geese fearing they may be humans in animal form. Sophie, meanwhile, learns to use a camera, building her own darkroom and a hunter’s blind to photograph bird nests in the wild. Years later, a descendant of the Forresters donates their journals and artifacts to a museum in the small town now on the expedition route, site of rafting tours and a million-dollar fishing lodge. In this splendid adventure novel, Ivey captures Alaska’s beauty and brutality, not just preserving history, but keeping it alive. Agent: Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary. (Aug.)

BookPage Reviews

Blending history and myth

BookPage Fiction Top Pick, August 2016

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.

Told through private diary entries, newspaper clippings, government reports, personal letters and more, the patchwork-quilt narrative results in a fully immersive reading experience that draws readers deep into 19th-century Alaska. It’s 1885, and Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester has been asked by the U.S. government to travel north along the Wolverine River and survey the surrounding land and its peoples. Along with a small company of soldiers, Allen embarks on a grueling foray into an unforgiving terrain. His reports detail the harsh conditions the group experiences and are firmly grounded in this world; however, his journal and letters to his wife, Sophie, shed a different light on the events, describing encounters with the local indigenous people that have a decidedly supernatural bent. The deeper his team moves into the Alaskan backcountry, the more the wilderness exposes their own primal natures. Meanwhile, feeling stifled by the small-minded community back home, Sophie embarks on her own journey of self-discovery.

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.

BAM Customer Reviews