Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Far North - Marcel Theroux

Stunning. Stark. Riveting. Powerful. Plausible.

Oh, I could come up with many more adjectives to describe this new release from Harper Collins Canada.

Far North by British author Marcel Theroux captured me from the first page, threw me for a loop on page 23 and held on to me 'til the last page. I'm still thinking about it.

Far North takes place up near the Arctic Circle in Siberia. Years before, when many were tired of the way the world was headed, they chose to build a new lives and new cities in this frontier. Makepeace was born here to Quaker parents and knows no other world. But Makepeace is the last one standing. The city has emptied, with others killed by violence and disease or making a desperate run to survive. The details are left to us to imagine to a great degree, but the implication is that civilization has collapsed. The logistics of the collapse are secondary in this story. It is more about the people.

Makepeace was the local sheriff and still patrols the city on horseback, saving books, cleaning guns and marking time.

"There were times when I wondered if I had done the right thing staying behind when everyone else had left or died."

When a plane flies over and crashes nearby, Makepeace is stunned. Could there be others alive? Could technology have been saved? The Sheriff decides to strike out and look beyond the confines of the dead city of Evangeline for the rest of humanity.

What Makepeace finds may be worse than than being alone - fortified villages, suspicion, slavery and a world trying to understand the old technology. And The Zone.

Makepeace is a compelling character and narrator, offering up a unique and thoughtful perspective on whatever presents itself. Rolling with the punches, considering, contemplating, enduring. It is the unveiling of Makepeaces's stoic character and past that had me quickly turning pages.

Theroux quietly inserts many surprises that catch you unawares and completely change the direction your thinking was headed. I love being unable to predict a novel.

Although this is set in the future, I don't know how far ahead we could say. The scenario presented is all too possible. A five star read for me.

Read an excerpt of Far North.

Fans of Matheson's I am Legend, McCarthy's The Road and even King's The Stand will enjoy this book.


Sheila DeChantal said...

This sounds like a great read and a great review. Thanks!

bermudaonion said...

I can see why you included stunning and stark in your review. This book sounds very thought provoking.

M. said...

wow. sounds really good. must take a look....

B.Kienapple said...

I'm a sucker for apocalyptic tales set in frozen wastelands (The Road, Oryx and Crake) so thanks for bringing this book to my attention.

Teddy Rose said...

Great review! This sounds really good.

Melwyk said...

I'm a few chapters into this one and I so agree with you! Makepeace is a great character. And p.23 was a shocker, wasn't it?!