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Dark Matter

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  3,943 ratings  ·  655 reviews
January 1937. Clouds of war are gathering over a fogbound London. Twenty-eight year old 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: five men and eight huskies, crossing the Barents Sea by the light of the midnight sun. At last they reach the ...more
Hardcover, 243 pages
Published October 21st 2010 by Orion
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The Shining by Stephen KingThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley JacksonA Christmas Carol by Charles DickensGhost Story by Peter StraubHeart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Ghost Stories
33rd out of 748 books — 1,252 voters
The Snow Child by Eowyn IveyA Christmas Carol by Charles DickensThe Winter of Our Discontent by John SteinbeckDark Matter by Michelle PaverThe Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen
Book Vipers' Winter/Christmas Challenge Booklist
3rd out of 178 books — 42 voters

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Community Reviews

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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 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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,
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Paul Cheney
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
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.

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
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
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

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
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
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
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
~ Kolarić  LP ~
"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
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
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)

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
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
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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...
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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“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.” 4 likes
“If you're warm enough when you set out, you're wearing too many clothes.” 3 likes
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