Sunday, 12 July 2009

Book of the Week - Sarah Moss, Cold Earth

I am travelling at present, so this week’s book recommendation is courtesy of a correspondent. Cold Earth is a first novel from University of Kent academic Sarah Moss, and has just been published by Granta. She completed her doctoral thesis on British Romanticism and the Arctic, and the stories which she discovered while researching this provided the inspiration for her novel. There have been very favourable reviews in The Guardian, The Times and The Independent. Signed copies seem uncommon but there may be a few available via Coombe Hill Books. As for books set in the arctic, I enjoyed The Solitude of Thomas Cave a couple of years ago, and I will return at a future date to the works of American artist and writer Rockwell Kent.

“A team of six archaeologists assembles at the beginning of the Arctic summer, to unearth traces of the lost Viking settlements in Greenland. But while they settle into uneasy domesticity, camping between the ruined farmstead and the burnt-out chapel, there is news of an epidemic back home and their communications with the outside world fall away. Facing a Greenland winter for which they are hopelessly ill-equipped, knowing that their missives may never reach their loved ones, Nina, Ruth, Catriona, Jim, Ben and Yianni write their final letters home. In this exceptional and haunting first novel, Moss weaves a rich tapestry of personal narratives, history, ghost stories, love stories, stories of grief and naked survival. Cold Earth is as compelling as a thriller, and also a highly sophisticated novel of ideas.”

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