To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

I greatly enjoyed Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child:

It was an evocative and deeply human story with a fairy tale woven in. And like so many fairy tales and folklore – not the Disney versions – this one was touched with sorrow and tragedy. But also infused with love and hope and beauty as they really exist.

Gorgeous prose, a wonderfully developed setting that become a character of its own, and a great cast of characters make this a novel with depth and emotion – a heft belied by the fairy tale at it heart.

So I was excited to read her second novel, To the Bright Edge of the World, a beautiful and engaging epistolary novel.

It reads like the documentation of real history rather than fiction. It moves from the interior thoughts and emotions of its characters to the historic events that surround them, and the interaction of people across social, cultural and language boundaries, all while sucking you into this gripping story of a fantastical expedition and its impact on both the future and the lives of a young marriage threatened by the separation it causes.

Ivey deftly develops the characters both as they react to events and as they reflect on their unique past; family, events, defining moments. You dive deep into the private lives of the characters but also subtly pull back to see the long term impact of the events that drive the story and how they ripple through lives generations later.

And mixed throughout is the possibility of the supernatural.  She does not assume that the folklore and mythology of the native cultures is superstition from the past.  And the characters encounter events and circumstances which cause them to question what they think and know.  Ivey deftly allows this mystery to exist without choosing sides.

Truly a creative masterpiece.

 

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