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Dark Matter

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,024 Ratings  ·  795 Reviews
Out of nowhere, for no reason, I was afraid. My skin pickled. My heart thudded in my throat. My body knew before I did that I was not alone…

London, 1937. Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life, so when he’s offered the chance to join an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway and at last they reach the remote, uninhabite
Paperback, Orion Paperback Edition, 288 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Orion Books Ltd (first published October 21st 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
perfectly executed little ghost story set in the Arctic wastes in the late 1930s, featuring the adventures of AN AWESOME HUSKY NAMED ISAAK and I suppose some humans as well.

so Jack - a poor, depressed, dog-hating, lower class and very class conscious 28-year-old - finds the perfect solution to his angst and alienation: he will join a small expedition to the abandoned mining outpost of Gruhuken in the Arctic circle. there he will find meaning to his life, camaraderie and fellowship and an intense
Review from Badelynge
Michelle Paver's Dark Matter is a chillingly accomplished ghost story that takes place in the dark isolation of a snowbound base-camp of a small but ambitious scientific expedition, as the long dark night of an Arctic Winter sets in. The year is 1937. Unbeknown to the youthful group, their new home already has a black history and a reputation that makes the hardened seamen and trappers of the region reluctant to even speak of it.
Paver's love of the Arctic, first hand knowled
Jan 09, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Any lover of ghost stories
Now I love snow. I long for it with every fibre of my red blooded being. I yearn and strain to hear and see and feel it falling. Where I live in Poole we hardly ever get it and when the rest of the kingdom is cloaked in it we have the normal talcum powder sprinklings which somehow manages to bring all normal progress to a grinding halt or we have absolutely none whatsoever whilst radio and tv bangs on about blizzard conditions and the horror that is the white stuff everywhere else. Yet with all ...more
This is subtitled A Ghost Story, so I knew what to expect... or at least, I thought so. While it will be lapped up by lovers of traditional ghost stories - myself included - this novel also has a unique edge and great literary quality. Dark Matter relates the experiences of Jack, a former student of physics who, at 28, is poor, lonely, sick of London life and hates his job as an export clerk. On a whim, he applies to join an Arctic expedition as a wireless operator, and is thrilled to be accepte ...more
Michelle Paver is most famous for writing a series of fantasy novels for younger readers - which I have not read - and Dark Matter, subtitled A Ghost Story, is her first novel for adult readers.

The book opens in London at the eve of World War 2, where a young man named Jack is having a rough time: despite his Oxford education he has trouble finding employment and starting a career as a physicist, and has to work as an export clerk - a job he dislikes intensely. Jack is lonely and poor, down to h
Lance Greenfield
I wasn't sure that I would like this book as I read the first ten pages, but it gradually drew me in until I knew that I could not escape!

The opening is a letter to a journalist from Algernon Carlisle, a survivor of the ill-fated 1937 expedition to the deep Arctic Circle, which denies the existence of Jack Miller's journal. He admits that Jack wrote a journal during those continuously dark days in the far north, but, although it would probably explain a lot, he knows not what happened to it and
After a few too many meh reads lately, this was exactly what I needed! The Artic is a really perfect setting for a good ghost story, one that is so utterly absorbing and beautifully atmospheric. In some ways this chilling backdrop was almost more powerful then the true ghost aspect of the plot. Paver's descriptions are so vivid, so expressive, that I could really see Gruhuken, and it was easy to understand Jack's increasing paranoia, in eternal and silent darkness. The plot itself is really very ...more
Janette Fleming
Apr 19, 2011 Janette Fleming rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1937 Jack Millar is working as a clerk after his dream of a career in research physics looks likely not to be realised. Lonely and dissatisfied he jumps at the chance to join an Arctic expedition, as a radio operator. The other four members of the team are well to do amateur Oxbridge explorers. Jack is more than aware of the social gulf between him and his fellow companions best illustrated by the mortification he feels when he says 'OK' instead of 'Grand'.

Jack cuts a lonely, awkward figure,
Feb 10, 2012 Diletta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"E' di nuovo tutto immobile. Sono immerso nel buio freddo, senza vento, morto. E' questa la verità: il buio. E noi siamo l'anomalia. Piccole scintille sfavillanti sulla crosta di questo pianeta che gira, mentre tutt'intorno regna l'oscurità."

Jack Miller è un giovane laureato in fisica che sta cercando l'occasione della sua vita, quella che gli permetterà di mettere a frutto i suoi studi sollevandolo dalla miseria di ogni giorno; per questo quando gli si presenta un progetto, un fantastico proget
Dark Matter by Michelle Paver is a slow burning ghost story; slowly the tension builds and builds until... The story kicks off on 7th January 1937, the first entry being written in the journal of Jack Miller who is preparing for an expedition to Gruhuken. This uninhabited location in Arctic is the back drop of this chilling story, the atmosphere and solitude all playing a role in building the tension within this story. The relationship between Jack and his companions Gus, Algie, Hugo and Teddy a ...more
Jan 14, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it
I will admit that I wasn't sure what I was going to find reading this book. I have not read much in the way of Michelle Paver but I was hoping for something in the vein of Susan Hill or maybe Helen Dunmore. What I found however was something totally different.

A lot of these style of stories rely on atmosphere - after all something that seems mundane and normal can take a far more sinister countenance when seen in relation to the right backdrop, and there can be no more spectacular backdrop than
Feb 01, 2015 Shaun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
There is so much to love about this story.

First, the setting and characters are so believable. Paver apparently spent a lot of time reading about artic expeditions, also drawing heavily from time she spent in various artic climates. Needless to say, her reading and personal adventures paid off. Reading this I kept thinking of Endurance , the real life adventure of Ernest Shackleton and crew.

Secondly, what an ideal place for a ghost story--an isolated ice cap, plunged into four months of cruel, u
Richard Stacey
A good read but I thought this novel could have been (and needed to be) a lot longer in key places.

The story is strong and simple. In the 1930s, three Englishmen called Gus, Jack and Algie go to stay in an isolated and possibly haunted cabin in the artic. It has a very amteurish Shackleton expedition atmosphere at the beginning which I loved. Three "jolly good chaps off for a jaunt in the artic." It reminded me of how even famous English explorers of the time like Scott made ludicrous decisions
Sep 30, 2014 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, read-in-2014
If you like quiet horror with a nice slow burn, you must read this. It reminded me of reading M.R. James, Algernon Blackwood, or Susan Hill. You're reasonably sure nothing is going to jump out at you on the next page, but never completely sure. The anticipation becomes such that there is terror in the strangest, most mundane things, too. I LOVE IT.

This book contains photographs of various Arctic sorts of things, too, and turning a page to be suddenly presented with one of those sometimes made m
I dare you...

It's 1937 and war clouds are gathering over Europe. Jack Miller is poor and struggling in a job he hates, so he jumps at the chance to join an expedition to Gruhuken, an abandoned mining settlement in the Arctic. Part scientific expedition, part adventure for the group of upper-class men who are arranging it, for Jack it is an escape and a possible way back into the scientific studies he had to abandon when his father died. But the expedition begins to hit trouble even before they l
Apr 04, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ghost-stories
Atmospheric ghost story about a fictional expedition to the arctic in 1937. The main part of the book is the journal of one of the men on the expedition. Five men plan to go to the arctic to monitor weather, wildlife, geology. Two are forced to drop out before they arrive and the other two have to leave temporarily following an accident. Jack is left with the huskies as the winter draws in and permanent night sets in.
In the darkness he realises he is not alone. Has some similarities to M R Jame
Incredibly atmospheric and more than a little spooky at times (strange to be reading it while on a sunny holiday in Portugal, but it still gave me the creeps!)

Rating it a 3.5 because it was a little too slight to be something I'd want to revisit, but I would read something else by Michelle Paver.
Pete Ames
Dark Matter is, first a foremost a ghost story. A really, really good ghost story.

Like, I didn’t like sleeping with the light off type good. And I’m a grown man.

It’s power lies, I think, in its subtlety. Michelle Paver, the author, has clearly paid attention to her movies and seen that the unbearable terror lies in the build up; when the what and the why and the who are still unknown and all is that you do know is that something is going on and it’s not right.

The story itself is set around a g
Jan 10, 2014 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Captivating ghost story that slowly builds over the course of the book. I didn't feel that it was all that haunting at the beginning of the book but it slowly and steadily builds on the same feelings of foreboding and spine tingles as it does for Jack. That is what made Dark Matter so great to read. There was no one point where it went from a "normal" day to one that was terrifying. No typical overdone lead up to a quick ending. Dark Matter flowed steadily from start to finish and it was satisfy ...more
Oct 23, 2015 Mack rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a delight to read with a sense of unease through the entire reading. I like the way the Arctic was captured and the dread of something terrible out there in the dark waiting. It is simple with the right amount of tension and fear. Jack is someone who cares about everybody and is capable of great strength and courage. He sets off with four team members on a Arctic expedition as a wireless operator and is confronted with his own insecurities and bitter loneliness having been stranded ther ...more
Good, old-fashioned ghost stories seem more popular than ever. No longer confined to small fringe presses, ghostly tales can generate both critical respect for writers, and impressive sales for publishers. Well-known authors, Sarah Waters and John Boyne to name just two, are trying their hand at the genre.

Some writers seek to recreate the atmosphere and feel of the classic ghost stories, such as those by M.R. James. But others are letting their ghosts haunt new, unexpected places. The Arctic, l
Dillwynia Peter
Mar 11, 2013 Dillwynia Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this as an audiobook as I crossed the Nullabor Plain of southern Australia. Incongruous, I'm sure you as saying. But this is not so - in summer, there is little traffic & one quickly feels isolated and on the edge of something. Something mighty, terrible and you are at the mercy of one false action.

I enjoyed the story & it worked for me: the culture & class clash (the grammar school boy against the public school boy), the Nordic mythology (in sorts) and the helplessness
Doug H
Feb 18, 2016 Doug H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great midwinter read, this could also make a great film. I read it as more of a psychological drama than a ghost story, but it could be read as either (or both). Either way, it's a story of survival and, ultimately, one of self-discovery.

The title comes from Quantum Physics and the hypothesis that what can be seen by the human eye accounts for only a small fraction of the matter in the Universe. As the narrator struggles with his predicament of physical and mental isolation in the Arctic wint
Jo Ann
Jan 03, 2016 Jo Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who love a good ghost story.

This was my first book of the year, and I feel like I'm off to a good start!

What a great ghost story! Imagine being left alone in the Arctic with only a telegraph for communication and a team of sled dogs for company. Jack is trying his hardest to salvage his expedition, as one by one his companions are forced to leave. For weeks he will endure the Arctic night where the sun never rises, blizzards that last for days and freezing temperatures that kill. But that's not the worst of it, what about
Feb 28, 2015 Rodaw rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do téhle knihy jsem už tak nějak šla s tím, že se mi bude líbit. Vnitřní pocit, nejspíš. Občas se stává, že když od knížky máte vysoké hodnocení, zklame Vás, určitě to sami znáte. Tahle kniha mě nezklamala. Sice byla trošku jiná, než jsem čekala (rozhodně nejde o klasickou vyvražďovačku!), ale atmosféra tu byla daleko tíživější, než jsem čekala.
Ze začátku jsem měla docela dost velký problém s hlavním hrdinou. Až tak velký, že jsem uvažovala, že knihu prostě zaklapnu! A to už je myslím co říct .
Jun 02, 2013 Rhys rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review was originally posted on

January 1937, and London is on the brink of a new world war. Life for Jack Miller is not going good; he has no family, no friends and lives in a grimy part of London. How could he say no when he's offered a chance to join an expedition to the Arctic Circle, away from the fog and dirt of London? The expedition starts well, but gradually it seems that something, or someone does not want them, as the land of the midnight sun becomes the land
Nov 01, 2012 Heidi rated it really liked it
Review originally posted at The Book Smugglers to celebrate All Hallow's Read!

Oh how I love The Book Smugglers. They were the first book blog I ever read, and the one I’ll keep reading long after my life takes over and I’m too busy to keep up with everyone. So when Thea and Ana invited me to participate in All Hallows Read with them this year I capslock smashed YES into the keyboard as fast as I could type. Of course, it was only then that I realized that this meant I would have to read a spooky
There is only one word to describe this book, chilling.

Jack is offered the chance to join an Arctic expedition, and jumps at it. There are four in the group who are going to overwinter in Gruhuken to take weather readings and take scientific measurements.

Their arrival at Gruhuken is put on edge by the captain of the boat dropping them off, he obviously dislikes the place, but refuses to answer any questions about it. They settle in to a routine, but there is always something on the edge that is
Maya Panika
Oct 12, 2010 Maya Panika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story of a man and a dog, left alone in the Arctic night with a malevolent and vengeful spirit. Jack, the lonely narrator, gives us wonderfully evocative descriptions of the far north in winter and touching hints of his unrequited love. A slow burning plot that builds to a terrifying climax. Dark, disturbing, utterly gripping.

Beth Bonini
Nov 16, 2014 Beth Bonini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was immediately caught up in this book. Paver is a genius with detail, and I really admired the way she established the character of Jack, the story's protagonist. The novel begins in London, in 1937. Jack is a man on the fringes of his own life; too smart for his dead-end job, but too poor for the academic life he longs for. He even lives on the dull suburban fringe of London. This is the tail-end of the Depression, cold and gray and hopeless. When Jack is somewhat grudgingly offered a positi ...more
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Michelle Paver was born in Central Africa, but came to England as a child. After gaining a degree in Biochemistry from Oxford University, she became a partner in a City law firm, but eventually gave that up to write full-time.

The hugely successful Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series arose from Michelle's lifelong passion for animals, anthropology and the distant past - as as well as an encounter
More about Michelle Paver...

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“Moving closer to the edge, I peered down. The water was glassy green, extraordinarily clear. I experienced the feeling I sometimes get when I'm on a bridge or a railway platform. Rationally, you know that you've no intention of stepping off the bridge or the platform - or this ice floe - but you're aware that you could, and that the only thing stopping you is your will.” 7 likes
“If you're warm enough when you set out, you're wearing too many clothes.” 4 likes
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