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Cold Earth Paperback – 1 Jun 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (1 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184708060X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847080608
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.2 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 667,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'An apocalyptic take on Lord Of The Flies meets The Secret History'- Metro -- Review

'Few first novels are as topical as this ... There is a lot to enjoy' - Financial Times
-- Review

'You be glad that you've read Cold Earth ... It breathes authenticity'- Guardian -- Review

`An astounding piece of imaginative fiction taking the reader to the ends of the earth' - Bookseller
-- Review

`It is almost perfect ... This is an unusually promising first novel'- Times Literary Supplement -- Review

`Just as you think you've pinned her down, Moss nimbly changes genres ... you really must read it' - Big Issue -- Review

`Moss's stark writing delivers stinging splashes of cold water. Every element is distilled for purity of purpose' - The Times
-- Review

`Tense and clever' - Diva magazine
-- Review

`Utterly gripping' - Independent -- Review

`Utterly gripping'- Independent
-- Review

Review

`An astounding piece of imaginative fiction taking the reader to the ends of the earth' - Bookseller

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Sutherland VINE VOICE on 25 Nov 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sarah Moss' debut novel isn't quite the ultra-frightener the broadsheets would have you believe, but it is an eerie and satisfying read. The narrative conceit is first-rate: six archaeologists are on a dig in Greenland when a killer plague sweeps the planet, leaving them isolated...so they hunker down in the Norse farmhouse they were excavating, get thoroughly spooked out and write a bunch of letters to their (potentially now dead) loved ones. These letters, which actually comprise the novel, chart the archaeologists' descent into superstition and panic and the reader is left to decide whether they are going genuinely mad or actually dealing with the paranormal...admittedly proceedings get somewhat creepy - mainly due to Moss' taut style. The book is short (less than 300 pages), understated and deeply engaging.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Denise4891 TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Sep 2011
Format: Paperback
Cold Earth tells the story of a group of six young academics on an expedition to Greenland to excavate a deserted Norse settlement. The group consists of a diverse bunch of characters, including archaeologists, anthropologists and an English Lit postgrad who is researching the influence of old Norse sagas on Victorian poetry. As they set out on their journey, the media are just beginning to whip up a storm of hysteria about a deadly bird-flu type virus which is spreading across parts of the US and Europe.

The book is set out in the form of letters written by the six to their loved ones back home. In line with their experiences, the tone of the letters starts out quite hopeful and positive, but gradually becomes more fearful and desperate as they come to terms with their seemingly hopeless situation. Their sense of isolation intensifies as their communications systems start to fail (though a combination of bad luck and bad planning) and they have no idea what has happened to their families, and whether anyone even knows that they are still alive and need to be rescued.

The star of the book for me was Nina (who narrates the first and largest chapter). There are hints to some sort of mental instability in her past, and she is the first of the group to succumb to the pervading sense of fear and superstition which hangs over the camp. Thanks to Nina's visions and tales of 'things that go bump in the night', the rest of the team start to have doubts about whether they really are alone on the island.

This was a wonderfully eerie and entertaining read. I see from other reviews that there's some criticism of the ending and some readers would have preferred something more ambiguous. Personally I liked it and thought it gave an interesting slant to the story.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 April 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Six people are on an archeological dig in an isolated part of Greenland. Before the dig even starts there is a sense of unease, with a media panic about a pandemic said to be spreading across the globe. We hear the story from all the members points of view, but largely from that of Nina and Ruth, who have an immediate antipathy for each other. Nina is an Oxford scholar, with a love of food and her partner David, and a line of casual putdowns aimed at America in general and Ruth in particular. Ruth is a calm, controlled and attractive woman, who is battling her own demons and has no patience with, what she sees, as Nina's attention seeking and paranoia. Nina, meanwhile, is beginning to unsettle the group with nightmares and talk of ghosts. Then the internet connection dies and there is the added worry that the group will not be able to leave. Even worse is the fear that Nina is not imagining things...

This is a really excellent novel, with fantastic characters and a real sense of being there it is so descriptive. This was Sarah Moss's first novel and I am glad to say that her second novel, Night Waking, is even better. Read it and enjoy.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dr. M. Ford VINE VOICE on 13 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What is it about? Six people with varying motives and varying levels of enthusiasm head to Greenland to excavate a ruined and pillaged farm site. The dig is set against isolation from the rest of the world which is suffering from a swine-flu like outbreak of unknown severity. The novel tells all of their stories against the back drop of the trials of surviving not only the bleak surroundings, but each other. With each character Sarah Moss offers less detail, just glimpses of who they are but with each narration there is more urgency as the reality of their danger becomes apparent. This is a thriller and the story will keep you engaged; it is also an exploration of people and how they deal with life's situations.

What's to like? The narrative is delivered in letters home from each of the characters which together with the David Mitchell-esque devices used in Nina's letters (is she dreaming, psychotic or is it real?) helps keep this a vigorous and compelling read - for the most part. The story is cleverly woven and has just enough fright value to keep some people (like me) awake at night!

What's not to like? The main narrator, Nina, is hard to empathise with until her very last contribution. The dénouement may leave you a little flat - but only until it sinks into your mind.

What should you buy next? Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell); the Rough Guide to Greenland; a night lite.
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