Reviews for To the Bright Edge of the World:

by Eowyn Ivey

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

This tale of Alaskan adventure is really three interwoven stories in one: first, the 1885 diary of Col. Allen Forrester, who leads an expedition up the Wolverine River to explore the then-uncharted wilderness of Alaska; second, the simultaneous diary of his pregnant wife, Sophie, left in the Vancouver Barracks to await his return; and lastly, the modern-day framing story, told in letters between Walt, the grand-nephew of the colonel, and Josh, caretaker of an Alaska history museum, who Walt hopes will take the journals and other artifacts and create a museum exhibit around them. Reader Lakin's rendition of Sophie is the standout performance in this multiple-actor effort: her bright, lively, expressive voice perfectly conveys Sophie's intelligence, curiosity, and spunky spirit. Glouchevich has a gravelly voice that is well suited for Walt, and he varies his tone enough to differentiate him from Josh. As Forrester, Vandenheuvel sounds earnest and observant but he maintains the same calm, even, slightly whispery tone at all times, even when recounting moments of high danger and intensity on the expedition. This audiobook will appeal to those who enjoy stories of exploration or the tales of Jack London. A Little, Brown hardcover. (Aug.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Walter Forrester, a self-described "stubborn old man" without living relatives, contacts Alaska museum curator Joshua Sloan with an offer to donate numerous effects of his great-uncle Lt. Col. Allen Forrester and Forrester's wife, Sophie. In 1885, Allen Forrester embarked on a formidable mission to chart the Wolverine River, leaving newly pregnant Sophie in Vancouver Barracks, WA. The colonel's notebooks reveal the expected life-threatening challenges-lack of food, potentially hostile Natives, invincible nature-but also his shock from experiencing inexplicable, otherworldly occurrences. Meanwhile, Sophie distances herself from the stifling army encampment society while waiting for baby and husband, turning to the still-new art of photography to engage her independent mind. Interwoven with Walter and Josh's developing epistolary exchange are the pioneering couple's journals and letters; additional newspaper articles, army documents, and official artifact descriptions add further illumination. Loosely based on Col. Henry Allen's 1885 expedition into Copper River, Ivey's superb narrative is aurally enhanced by an excellent triumvirate of narrators: John -Glouchevitch and Kiff Vandenheuvel take turns as 19th-century explorers and 21st-century correspondents, and Christine Lakin crisply embodies the spirited, ahead-of-her-time Sophie Forrester. VERDICT An outstanding follow-up to Ivey's Pulitzer finalist debut, The Snow Child, World is an essential, enlightening acquisition for all historical fiction collections. ["The personal nature and the immediacy of the writing puts the reader in the heart of the story, allowing one to become a participant rather than a mere observer": LJ Xpress Reviews 7/22/16 starred review of the Little, Brown hc; a 2016 LJ Top Ten Best Book.]-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Ivey's highly anticipated second novel, following The Snow Child (2012), is again set in the wilds of her native Alaska. She portrays a fictional 1885 expedition, led by Colonel Allen Forrester of the U.S. Army, into the newly acquired Alaska Territory to map the area's rivers and gather information about the Native populations. By means of the colonel's journal entries and letters between him and his wife, Sophie, who remains at the Vancouver barracks, Ivey deftly draws the reader into the perils of the journey. Forrester is accompanied by only two other officers and a few Indian guides they enlist en route; their goal as they embark in February 1885 is to return to Vancouver before the next winter. Forrester describes the challenges he faces, in a late-nineteenth-century style Ivey captures perfectly, including traveling on rivers of ice, dodging huge ice boulders loosened by the spring thaw, re-routing around narrow canyons, and suffering near-starvation and gut-wrenching illnesses. Sophie is a strong character as well; a feminist who chafes at the social restrictions of the barracks, she teaches herself photography in her husband's absence. Ivey presents a compelling historical saga of survival.--Donovan, Deborah Copyright 2016 Booklist


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Authorized to lead an 1885 winter exploratory expedition up the Wolverine River into the Alaska interior, Lt. Col. Allen Forrester leaves his wife of a few short months to travel more than 1,000 miles over the most hostile terrain imaginable. Woefully unprepared for the climate, scarcity of food, and potentially hazardous exchanges with the native inhabitants, he and his men find a land that is as deadly as it is mysterious and beautiful. Meanwhile, bride Sophie faces a difficult pregnancy alone in Vancouver, WA. The entire novel consists of the correspondence between the couple-neither of them knowing if those letters will even reach the other. Interspersed are other letters between an exhibitor in Alaska and Allen's great nephew who wants the Forresters' story to be curated and preserved. This reviewer has never cared for epistolary novels, but Ivey not only makes it work, she makes it work magnificently. The personal nature, the immediacy of the writing puts the reader in the heart of the story, allowing one to become a participant rather than a mere observer. Verdict Ivey's first novel, The Snow Child (a lovely retelling of an old Russian folk tale), was a runaway hit, an international best seller, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her second work is even better! [See Prepub Alert, 2/8/16.]-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage P.L., AK Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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