Thursday, 25 October 2012

Dark Matter

Michelle Paver's icy horror story was given a thumbs up by the group and many thought it truly terrifying. It was well-researched and did a good job of evoking that period of gung-ho British expeditionary zeal found at the start of the last century (bone china tea service included).

Of course, the total darkness of winter was a key element to the story and we pondered how we would fare in a similar situation. Shetland is bad enough on a wild and dark winter's day, where you might only get six hours of light. Most felt they couldn't have forced themselves to walk round the outside of the expedition cabin in total darkness - turning those blind corners as Jack did would have been too much!

The group talked about the siting of the cabin and we all agreed that placing it next to the old 'shed' was asking for trouble. But of course that allowed the creepy pole, outside the front door, to become a really nasty, brooding element throughout the story.

Jack's desire to tough it out was discussed at length: Was it his desire to prove himself to his upper class companions or was it more a desire to be seen in a good light by Gus?

The group thought that Paver must be a dog owner as Jack's relationship with Isaac, the last husky to survive, was well drawn. He certainly stopped Jack going mad with fear.

Personally, I would have liked a more gruesome, scarier ending and felt the novel needed to be longer and more detailed at key points. Maybe the novel reflected the author's Y.A. background...

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