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Far North [Paperback]

Marcel Theroux
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
Price: £7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

3 Jun 2010

Every day I buckle on my guns and go out to patrol this dingy city.

Out on the far northern border of a failed state, Makepeace patrols the ruins of a dying city and tries to keep its unruly inhabitants in check.

Into this cold, isolated world comes evidence that life is flourishing elsewhere - a refugee from the vast emptiness of forest, whose existence inspires Makepeace to take to the road to reconnect with human society.

What Makepeace finds is a world unravelling, stockaded villages enforcing a rough and uncertain justice, mysterious slave camps labouring to harness the little understood technologies of a vanished civilization. But Makepeace's journey also leads to unexpected human contact, tenderness, and the dark secrets behind this frozen world.

FAR NORTH leads the reader on a quest through an unforgettable arctic landscape, from humanity's origins to its likely end. Bleak, haunting, spare - and yet ultimately hopeful, the novel is suffused with an ecstatic awareness of the world's fragility and beauty, and its unexpected ability to recover from our worst trespasses.


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Far North + A Blow to the Heart + The Paperchase
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (3 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571237789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571237784
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“Sublime . . . There is a satisfying sadness and finality to Theroux's vision.” —"The New York Times Book Review "“The first great cautionary fable of climate change. Marcel Theroux's homespun tale about a solitary frontier survivor conjures up a monolithic world that's ominous and deeply memorable.” —Lydia Millet, "The Washington Post "“A suspenseful, gripping vision of catastrophe wrought by the warring human impulses of greed and imagination.” —"The Dallas Morning News "“Theroux has managed to pull off a macho novel that would appeal to both male and female readers. . . . . Who would have thought that a novel of doom could be so interesting  . . .  so . . .  enjoyable? A real page-turner that's a surprising romp beyond despair.” —"The Globe and Mail"“How refreshing to meet Makepeace Hatfield, who faces a world gone wild with hope, humor, and a scrappy tenacity that manage --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A major new novel of retribution and forgiveness from the prize-winning author of The Paperchase and A Blow to the Heart.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprises right until the last page 3 Mar 2009
By Martin Turner HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Into the cold landscape of post-apocalyptic fiction, Marcel Theroux brings us a character, Makepeace, who continues to surprise us right until the very last page. Theroux's perfectly imagined sub-arctic landscape is so confidently plotted and written that he only reveals the details we need to interpret the story one at a time, so that each chapter brings some new revelation. This story is so immaculately told that it is difficult to believe -- while reading -- that it has not actually happened, and is merely being recorded for our sake, and posterity.

Far North is a challenging read, and not everyone will enjoy it. It has something of the Ursula K LeGuin about it, but with more close realism, though less impassioned brilliance: it is a book of many fine moments, but no truly great ones, and the resolution of the plot, though satisfying, does not _quite_ fulfil the expectations that are set up along the way.

Be that as it may, this is a rewarding book and an enjoyable book, and anyone looking for something which is at once literary, and exciting in the genre of science-fiction is going to get a lot out of it.

One of the better reads of the year.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding 3 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved this book from the first page and couldn't put it down. I read it in one sitting, which meant three and a half hours of undiluted intellectual stimulation.
The story's stoical, admirable, extraordinarily well-drawn central character Makepeace completely drew me in and had me hooked from page one. Apart from a small plot twist that stretched credulity a little towards the end (a coincidence issue), I was utterly convinced by the narrative, and impressed by the way Theroux tackles the issue of climate change without ever being didactic: just thoughtful and wise. His writing is of the highest quality: it feels simple and clean but it's packed with intelligence, linguistic grace, and an odd kind of modesty. There were some sentences and passages I read again just for the pleasure of the language.
Perhaps it's silly to make comparisons but for me, 'Far North' works even better than McCarthy's brilliant 'The Road', something I didn't actually think was possible. The reason: Far North is more complex, more imaginative, more ambitious, but has more heart. That said, there is not a shred of sentimentality in it. I am not ashamed to admit that the final page had me in tears on public transport.
This is a book I want to shout about from the rooftops. I have never read Theroux before but I have just discovered a new literary hero.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stoic 19 May 2009
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This novel sticks in the mind a long time. I don't think I've ever read about a protagonist as stoic and uncomplaining as Makepeace, and ultimately it's the unfolding description of her character that keeps you reading.

Neither the plot nor the prose produces any fireworks - it's all spare, clear, and slightly detached and chilly. But the book moves along, gradually revealing its secrets: Where are we? What happened to all the people? How did Makepeace get there? The one thing it doesn't reveal is the exact nature of the catastrophe that has happened to the world.

In its evocation of a frozen world, this book reminded me of Stef Penney's "The Kindness of Wolves". Although it's set in the future rather than the past, a lot of the challenges that the characters face in their inhospitable world are similar to those our ancestors would have had to overcome. By the end of the story there's a real sense that the era that we live in now - like a warm, comfortable bubble supported by energy-hungry technology - may be drawing to a close.

Incidentally, this book features the most discreetly-rendered literary sex scene since Nicholas's dalliance with Gypsy Jones in 'A Dance To The Music Of Time' - in fact I only realised it had happened several chapters later.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Icy Apocalypse in the Wild Wild North 15 Mar 2009
By Cartimand TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
An icy end-of-the-world-as-we-know it isn't an overused scenario, so I had high hopes for Theroux's (brother of 'Weird Weekend' Louis) novel. I am glad to report that, for the most part, my hopes were fulfilled. In parts, reminiscent of Adam Robert's 'The Snow', 'Far North' is certainly a better novel than Robert's icy road to nowhere. Theroux ticks most of the boxes to deliver a compelling read. We have a long and gruelling journey, some very strong characterisation (especially the almost impossibly stoic central character), some clever hints of lost technology which prompt the reader to play guess the epoch (could "memory stones" be some sort of MP4 player?) some horrific violence, a handful of twists and the occasional profound insight into human nature. The only downside is that the moments of high drama are somewhat few and far between and you may find your attention wandering a bit as the plot meanders and fizzles faintly in between. Stick with it though and you will be rewarded by a moving and elegiac finale, which will surely make you ponder your own mortality. If you can stand the unquestionably grim journey, 'Far North' is ultimately a highly worthwhile and memorable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Far North by Marcel Theroux 19 Jun 2009
By Victoria VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is quite difficult to review. It is part adventure story, part social commentary. Taking place in Northern Siberia, it tells the story of isolationism, a desire to escape capitalism and return to a simpler form of living, and the collapse of political order. The plot is very focussed upon the northern regions, and gives the reader a good sense of what it is like to live in an isolated community, unaware of what is happening in the outside world.

It is the sort of novel whereby I cannot give too many details away without spoiling it, but it is a pleasant read that flows nicely and gives food for thought whilst keeping the reader interested in the developing story. It packs in a few twists that change the perception of events and with it your feelings towards the characters.

The protaganist is a simple character and you really find yourself interested in her views of the world, and I was personally enthralled yet horrified by the descriptions of life and events in this isolated part of the world, and her attempts to understand lawlessness. Despite there being such a deep backdrop to the story, it is in fact a simple and enjoyable read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good
Published 1 month ago by J
1.0 out of 5 stars The most pointless book I have opened
Could not see the point to this book. I didn't finish reading it, which is unheard of, it was agonizingly boring
Published 6 months ago by Mrs Eileen Hall
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow disjointed
Try,s to make a point on mankinds future , fails to convince.asumes a geographic knowledge few have, very bleak outlook
Published 10 months ago by Brian Blizard
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange and compelling
An excellent novel about survivors clinging on in a post apocalyptic world. It is not clear what happened to civilization, but the bleak Siberian setting, and the characters'... Read more
Published 11 months ago by C. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
This is how a post apocolyptic novel should be written. No zombies just brilliant awful realism. This is a great piece of writing.
Published 13 months ago by Dessy daa
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of The Far North.
A very unusual and surprising book, Could make a great film.

Very well written with great imagination. I didn't know what to expect from page to page.
Published 13 months ago by kenneth
3.0 out of 5 stars Far North - way out sci-fi
Somehow this manages to be imaginative and derivative at the same time. I was interested in the fate of the protagonist but found the authorly tricks rather tiresome and the plot... Read more
Published 15 months ago by postwork
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking book
I absolutely loved this book. It was moving and wonderfully written. Althought the subject matter could be considered depressing it had a quiet hope that after a global disaster... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mrs B Goodey
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange story
This made compulsive reading, but I found it strange and disturbing. It's a depressing vision of the future and not really my choice of book.
Published 15 months ago by Mrs. J. M. Van Merwe
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
good story well written. loses you at times but that's part of the enjoyment.
No i haven't anything to add
Published 15 months ago by cwmffrwd
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