Dark Matter: A Ghost Story
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Dark Matter: A Ghost Story

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  3,115 ratings  ·  572 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...more
Paperback, Orion Paperback Edition, 288 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Orion Books Ltd (first published January 1st 2010)
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Michael
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...more
Mark
Jan 09, 2014 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars 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
Michael
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
Janette Fleming
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,...more
Diletta
"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...more
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...more
Shaun
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...more
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 existance 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...more
Blair
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
Kathy
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
Paul
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...more
Uncle
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...more
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...more
Paul
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...more
Maya Panika
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.


Rhys
This review was originally posted on ThirstforFiction.com

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...more
Kat
I came across Dark Matter on a random Amazon wandering, and I was immediately attracted to both the cover, and the synopsis. A ghost story, set in the Arctic during Polar Night in the 1930's ticks so many of my boxes it's uncanny. And what scarier setting than being alone, in the dark, in the ice and snow......

Dark Matter is told through the journal of Jack, who although he studied physics at University, has been forced to work as a clerk for a stationary shipping company and stumbles upon an Ar...more
Heidi
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...more
ALPHAreader

I have heard of Michalle Paver, or at least her critically acclaimed ‘The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness’ series (which I have been meaning to read!). So when her latest novel dropped in my lap I was ecstatic. And after reading, I can safely say that I now believe the hype surrounding Ms Paver. . .

The year is 1937. Jack Miller’s life is going nowhere fast. He lives alone in London, where the city is on pins and needles awaiting outbreak of World War. When Jack is offered the once-in-a-lifetime c...more
Dillwynia Peter
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...more
Gaston Prereth
You could be forgiven when reading a ghost story called 'Dark Matter', that is set in the Artic circle where half of the year is stuck in a perpetual night, for assuming you know exactly what the story is going to give you and, with this book, you would be half right. The ghost story aspect of the book follows many of the tropes that any post MR James reader would expect and, while it is well written and adequately creepy, there is little that will surprise. However, Dark Matter delivers far mor...more
Kat
This is a page turner. I brought it with me one night when I expected a lot of silent downtime, waiting for something to happen. I finished it during said downtime (it's a short book), and I must start by recommending it.

It's probably best described as an arctic ghost tale, and it's very well written. It is very atmospheric. Jack follows a group of men on an arctic expedition to Svalbard, to an area called Gruhuken where the members of the expedition decide to settle, despite its reputation of b...more
Miloš Jocić
"Tamna materija" je vrlo dobra knjiga i fin horor, koji sa svojih kompaktnih dvestotinjak strana pruža izvanredno zabavno čitanje.

Po stilu se lako vidi da je Mišel Pejver "bivši" dečiji pisac. Rečenice su kratke, brikte, radnja je linearna i ravna kao strela i tekst protiče u neprestanim događanjima. Štucavice u pisanju su minorne i možda i previše retke da bi se spominjale, ali se primeti da Pejverova ima problema sa ili previše statičnim ili sa previše dinamičnim scenama. Statični opisi uplov...more
Stacey
A very easy read that I finished in 2 days. The story is well written and fairly simple. I loved watching Jack's changing character and how he dealt with life in the Arctic. In the beginning he is desperate for adventure. He is rather snobbish and highly emotional, especially in regards to his sad past. This is important, as the past is incredibly important in this novel.

Jack 'grows up' in a few ways as the novel progresses. He learns not to judge a book by its cover, and to trust more in others...more
Elizabeth
Dark Matter is a short novel set in 1937, based on a fictional account of an Arctic expedition to Gruhuken on Spitsbergen.

All the participants are friends from Oxford University, except for Jack Miller, their wireless operator. Jack immediately feels uncomfortable with the perceived class difference between himself and his colleagues, but this does alter the longer they remain at Gruhuken.

(view spoiler)...more
Teresa

If you enjoy the ghost stories of MR James, Poe or Susan Hill you will be delighted with all Dark Matter has to offer you. Even before you open the book, you sense the oppression of the constant Arctic night with a front cover lightened only by bleached whalebones on the shore, some tidal froth and the slightest glimmer of a crescent moon.

It is 1937 and our narrator, Jack Miller, yearns to rise from his lower middle class background and jumps at the chance of being a wireless operator on an Arct...more
Michael
After reading the first book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series, I was really looking forward to reading Paver's adult ghost story. However, in the end, I was left feeling underwhelmed. The first half of the book seems to drag so much, though I will say the detail in environments is quite impressive. Then again, she does go out and research these places to get a better feel for her story and be as accurate as possible. By the halfway point, the book picks up and seems to find what it's...more
Gemma (Passion for Novels)
This book is amazing, not as scary as I was worried it would be but certainly gets your mind whirring with excitement, anticipation and a slight dread. In quick it is the ramblings of a fearful man left alone where there is no day only night. His companion Isaak a husky dog is a brilliant character, his fear is so evident it sends the main character into a frenzy, although he is a comfort most times in the book I feel that at some points the narrator might not have panicked so much if the dog wa...more
apple
On the believing-and-getting-scared-by-ghost scale of zero being a bag of frozen broccoli and 10 being father Merrin from the movie the Exorcist, I must rank somewhere around 16. Call me superstitious, and I’ll give you a warm hug and a friendly fist-bump. So is this book scary? Yes, definitely a big yes in a muted creepy non-gore sort of way.

The pre-world warⅡ doomed arctic expedition was told through the journal of Jack Miller, a poor and extremely lonely 28 year old man with serious class is...more
Aden
I thought the set up as a journal was interesting, though that left me a little unsure about the context of a couple of parts. Still, I liked it. The story was subtle with it's creepiness. The whole thing built very well, I feel. I didn't expect the ending to go exactly how it did, but I expected something of that sort? I guess. Still, it was solid, not exactly satisfying, but I'm not sure what I'd consider a satisfying ending in the situation of this story. (view spoiler)...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
More about Michelle Paver...
Wolf Brother (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, #1) Spirit Walker (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #2) Soul Eater (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, #3) Outcast (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, #4) Oath Breaker (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, #5)

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