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Dark Matter

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  6,415 Ratings  ·  951 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, 246 pages
Published October 21st 2010 by Orion
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
Sep 23, 2016 Ron rated it liked it
1947. The story opens with a response to letter. ” I don’t think we’ll ever learn the truth of what happened at Gruhuken. However I know enough to be convinced that something terrible took place… No doubt the journal would, as you suggest explain much of what happened, but it has not survived, and I cannot ask Jack himself.”
1937. The one year research expedition to the Arctic is told strictly through the words of Jack Miller’s journal. Jack joins the expedition of 3 other men looking for a comm
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
Oct 22, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
Ghost of "Gruhuken" - 4.5 stars....

I am immensely fascinated with the Artic so anytime I find a book set in the area, I snap them up. I also love a good ghost story so if you combine the two I'm in heaven! And that's exactly what you'll find in Dark Matter so I knew going into it, that it just had to be good. 
In 1937, a 28 year old, down-on-his luck guy named Jack, is offered the chance to join an Artic expedition to a remote uninhabited area named Gruhuken. From the start, the expedition is c
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
Lukas (LukeLaneReads)
I spent the majority of this novel saying a silent prayer that the dog survives.

This novel was.....good. I say that with a gap because it was also not as wholly impressive as I wanted it to be either, but an entertaining ride all the same.

The whole thing just sort of left me wanting more. The ending was creepy (credit where it's due) but the suspense sort of needed to be featured a bit more throughout, it seemed like we were at the finale before we had time to really understand it.

The charact
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 07, 2011 Janette Fleming rated it it was amazing
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,
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
A spellbinding story of a research headed to the Arctic who are beset by misfortune. There destination is an allegedly haunted island which they are warned not to go to.

This is one of the best written books I have ever listened to. The narration by Jeremy Northham is excellent and the reading definitely adds to the air of suspense that permeates the story.

It is a story of friendship and love and the thin line that exists between the two. The novel explores isolation and how it affects people. It
Mar 04, 2012 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 30, 2011 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
Richard Stacey
Jan 09, 2012 Richard Stacey rated it liked it
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
Jan 10, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mark Hodder
Feb 04, 2017 Mark Hodder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
Incredibly atmospheric, this tale of ice and isolation really got under my skin. I loved the sense of menace, the rich desolation, and the creeping unease. As with all the best ghost stories, it leaves the question open as to whether the protagonist is haunted by an actual ghost or by his own deteriorating psychological state. His “cabin fever” is tremendously well depicted. Whichever way you interpret the events, chills will tickle your spine. I recently read THE WOMAN IN BLACK by Susan Hill, w ...more
I enjoyed this, the story of the expedition to the Arctic is interesting and the descriptions are brilliantly done. The characters felt real to me, and I cared about what happened to them.

But I didn't get enough of a feel for the the isolation or the darkness. Jack is never alone for long, then when he is he's busy. I liked the journal format and I think it worked, but when Jack writes in it he condenses his day to the interesting bits and the long lonely hours aren't included.

I did read it in
Apr 09, 2017 Celine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A marvelous, evocative, slow-burn of a ghost story. Brilliantly portrayed characters,and such spare, atmospheric writing. I had to finish reading while there was someone in the house with me. Couldn't have managed it if alone.
Dark Matter by Michelle Paver, not to be confused with the recent novel by Blake Crouch, is set largely in the remote Norwegian wilderness of 1937 with the second world war looming. After reading it (on suitably gloomy, late November days) I will definitely NOT be setting off there, especially during the winter!

I always enjoy a good ghost story - Dark Matter is described as an adult ghost story - and this book certainly made me shiver. Not only because of its brilliantly described Arctic setting
Jan 11, 2014 Shaun rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 26, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it
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
I found this one started out rather slowly but the tension soon sneaks up on you. Silently, from behind, with footsteps muffled by snow ...
Jack is a down-on-his-luck lower middle-class chap who yearns for adventure and recognition. He sets off on an expedition to the far north of Norway to set up camp with a few other gents, feeling out of his depth in many ways but determined to escape his life of loneliness and boredom.
At first, all seems to be going well. But then a creeping unease sets in.
Jan 27, 2017 Anna rated it really liked it
Recommended to Anna by: Rae
Last night I read this article on the doomsday clock moving closer to midnight then thought OKAY I have to step away from the internet. To regain some equilibrium, I read this novel all in one go and found it curiously comforting. It recounts an ill-fated Arctic expedition in 1937 and is told in the form of a journal. The narrator is in desperate need of a job and initially uncomfortable that the other expedition members are upper class. This class-related awkwardness is very well observed. Once ...more
Nov 22, 2013 Kathy rated it it was amazing
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 18, 2015 Mack rated it liked it
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
Oct 12, 2012 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Davonna Juroe
Sep 16, 2016 Davonna Juroe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, gothic, ghosts

With Halloween fast approaching, it’s definitely the time for reading creepy ghost stories while sipping a hot cuppa tea in front of a fire. Over the past few days, I finished British author Michelle Paver‘s ghost-story novel “Dark Matter” (Orion Publishing Group), and what a treat it was. This book is now on my top-ten-ghost-stories list, and I’m baffled how I’m only reading this now, as I’m constantly on the lookout for great ghost stories.

The novel follows twenty-eight-year-old Jack who trave
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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.” 8 likes
“If you're warm enough when you set out, you're wearing too many clothes.” 4 likes
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