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Latitudes of Melt

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,007 ratings  ·  99 reviews
This bountiful, magical novel opens with the discovery by two fishermen of a baby floating in a cradle on an ice pan in the North Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland in 1912. To the small fishing community into which the foundling is adopted, Aurora, as they name her – with her shock of white hair, one blue eye and one brown – is clearly enchanted. But it is not until ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 25th 2001 by Vintage Canada (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,007 ratings  ·  99 reviews

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Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in 2002, I remember it because I was a bookseller back then and 2001 and 2002 were magical years in the book industry in Newfoundland and really around the world. Latitudes of Melt takes place in Newfoundland. Imagine the day night the Titantic goes down off the coast of Newfoundland, two local fisherman find a baby bundled up and adrift on an pan of ice. The fisherman take the little baby ashore and after search and placing ads in all the international papers no one claims the ...more
Jennifer Mathison
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I am drawn to books set in Newfoundland. I will always chose a Newfoundland setting when I am perusing a selection of novels, if one is present. I grew up in a residential section of a city which in no way resembles any of the places I have visited in the pages of these novels. There is something indefinable about the descriptors of the land and lives lived in these books I have read. The Latitudes of Melt did not disappoint me. The premise was unusual enough to grab my attention but realistic ...more
I'm probably going to be universally hated for this review, but I really did not like this book. And I was so disappointed. I loved the cover. I loved the blurb. I loved the title. I loved the beginning. So where did it go wrong?

The book is set around a little girl who is found on an ice pan in the North Atlantic, right around the time the Titanic sinks. This was the time when I clicked and bought this, after finding it for a semi-reasonable price. The book is described as magical by many
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Four stars for this novel's lyrical beauty and powerful imagery. Also I love the Newfoundland setting and history, which is unique in all the world. The plot, which concerns a baby rescued from the sea, could have been compelling. However, the story meanders along like a sluggish stream with some stagnant side pools and circular eddies that don't contribute to the overall flow other than showing off the author's gift for description. The best scene is the pivotal one where the baby's origins are ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing

P14 "A passionate Newfoundlander, she knew their history was one of handing over to others what was rightfully theirs."

P104 "Unlike Newfoundland, which was raw and untouched, there was something finished about England, as if everything that needed doing had been done, and now it rested fully imagined and complete, every inch of it having been thoroughly examined."

P300, at Cobh, Ireland, watching the emigrant ships: "A reminder that for those left behind a ship's disappearance on the
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A beautifully written novel that gives you a strong setting and feeling of and for Newfoundland.

The novel is a story that follows the life of Aurora who as an infant was found floating in the ocean on an ice slab! In the beginning, Aurora's birthplace and history are a mystery to everyone. She is a child with white hair, pale skin and never feels the cold. She is a wanderer who has unusual connections with animals which leads the locals to believe she was left by 'fairies'.

The author paints an
Niya Vlahova
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes, I felt this book deserved five stars, sometimes two. I would understand why some people would not like it, at places it was tedious and boring. I guess that the unusual beginning, the Aurora's childhood and mostly all the resumes and praise build up some misleading expectations, which eventually are left frustrated. Additionally there are these huge "stretches of life" where nothing exceptional happens (although I think the author transmitted beautifully what happens with so many ...more
Kirt Callahan
Feb 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
Clark takes an intriguing premise, packed with rich possibilities, and manages to craft a story as dull as dishwater. Two dimensional characters with whom you never feel any connection. Detailed descriptions of every effing thing they do in the run of a day: "Then she made some lunch. Then she did the dishes. Then she read a book." The writing style is amateurish and plodding and the narrative switches between omniscient and first person with no warning or stylistic purpose. This is extremely ...more
Apr 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, drama, favorites
What an incredible read - I realize I think about this book many, many times since I read it a year ago. It's about a baby found in a basket on the ice near where the Titanic sank in 1912, who was taken by a fisherman back to his family and raised as his daughter. She grew up and had two children, one who became an ice scientist (it's his life and experiences that I enjoyed the most). The back story of Aurora's mother and her family was also very good.
Nicole Freeman
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
was swept away by the beauty of the land and likeness of the people but feel it fell short on some key elements and didn't quite go in a direction that answered questions that were seeded from the beginning. Was expecting a big climax but it fell short of this. Enjoyed this book though for its lovely imagery of the land and people. Want to visit Newfoundland someday!
Aug 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up in a quaint bookshop in Bayfield,Ontario, several years ago no. The shop allowed restive browsing with fire glowing, soft couches inviting a gentle relaxed scanning of covers and descriptions, but nothing beats the recommendation of the owner...

Enchanting, whimisical, beautiful...

Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book - I was thinking of re-reading An Audience of Chairs (which I remember loving) by J. Clark but found this instead - an interesting plot and beautiful capture of Newfoundland setting.
Mar 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
A great story of one woman's history and mind, told through the experiences of her family, friends, and herself. Brief Titanic interlude.
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
At first, I didn't think I would like this since it seemed like it was going to be more of a 'fantasy' story which I thought might be a hard sell for me. While the beginning is a tad 'far-fetched' or "mystical" if you prefer, I found that it didn't put me off and I was soon caught up in the story and the characters. It is about a baby floating on a pan of ice after the Titanic sinks and being found and adopted by a Newfoundland family. The story is about her life and, subsequently the lives of ...more
Cristina Reid
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is a story of Destiny, today we call them to star children, they have always been with us in history, the Author has woven a remarkable story or plotted a life, from her birth as a wise soul she is destined to leave the life that would have been so poverty-stricken and earthy to surviving the Titanic safely drifted by the waves to be found on ice, to a life that she has been sent to that gifted with love and the ability for her family now to let her be and an etheric being, of the world not ...more
I really enjoyed this book. It is more character- and setting-driven than plot driven, but the characters were solid, interesting, and felt 'real'. The setting too, was beautifully described and rendered in this book, becoming almost another character itself. I appreciated the attention to detail that Clark paid to developing the people and places in this book.

I will read other books by this author.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A meandering, conversational story of lives interwoven and intersected by the Titanic tragedy and history of Newfoundland
A meditative read, loved it.

Aurora/Annie Rose
Nancy ... Sheila

Read ePub book Overdrive
Jane Glen
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Masterfully written! I think she could write about something inconsequential and still be interesting. Although the plot and characters are fascinating in themselves, it was such a pleasure to read something so brilliant.
Eleanor Thorel
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I borrowed this book from work during a book exchange. I was not familiar with Joan Clark’s work. I was absolutely enchanted. There are enough reviews to give the reader a synopsis of the story.
Read it! Clarke’s writing is lyrical, poetic and heartbreakingly beautiful.
Gail Barrington
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A magical tale about the life of a Titanic survivor--a baby placed on an ice pan who was saved and raised by Newfoundland fishermen. Since the popularity of Come From Away, this novel needs a second look by those interested in the life and times of those who live in this wonderful place.
Di Turner
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Slow burn on this one, but it got more interesting in the last third of the book.
Susan Banner
Sep 08, 2019 rated it liked it
The story at times was riveting, but drifted. I found the ending a bit disappointing. It was definitely worth the read, but I was not vested in the characters.
Karen Anderson
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Thought it original in story and setting.
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mb-loon-lodge
This was a really nice twist on a story about the Titanic and a wonderful peak into the lives of folks in Newfoundland. I really enjoyed this read!
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Overall, fantastic writing. This story spans from 1910 to 1991, but not in direct chronological order. The author shows the links between Newfoundland and Ireland, as well as Newfoundland and the Titanic disaster, without this being labelled "a Titanic story." There were several points where I found the editor had missed things - wrong words, missing words, etc. Simple typos really but they did take away from the flow of reading.

I was very impressed by the author's knowledge of many things -
Jun 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I knew very little about Newfoundland before reading this book, and now I cannot wait to visit the Canadian province. The book begins with a baby, Aurora, being found at sea. She was found by Francis, a Newfoundland native, and brought to a small fishing town, Drook. Francis and his wife placed notices in major newspapers about their locating an infant with one brown eye and one blue eye, but nobody answered the advertisement. As a result, Francis and Merla raised Aurora as their own.

Steven Buechler
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It took me a while to read this book. The descriptions in it are worth reading, rereading and savouring.

From page 298-299:
On Sunday morning before Kevin awoke, Sheila went to her studio and began sketching in front of the window. She always made preliminary drawings before she began painting. Though she was a landscape painter, she never drew anything she saw outside the window. She drew the landscape of the imagination, what was taking shape inside her head, transforming what the inner eye
Adriana Bulgarelli
Jan 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Of the ten tousand icebergs calved in Greenland each year, nabout one tenth crossed the latitude of 48 degrees north, half that number made it to the latitude of 46 degrees, few of these would make it past the tail end of the Banks at t the latitude of 43 degees. Because Newfoundland was roughly between 46 and 51 degrees north, it was smack in the middle of the latitudes of melt. Every year icebergs drifted down the Labrador Current to ground the island's coves and bays."

The book tells the life
Gail Amendt
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Beginning in 1912 with the discovery of a baby floating on an ice pan, and ending in the 1990's, this is the story of that baby's life as she is adopted by the family of the man who found her, grows up, marries and has a family of her own. It is also the story of the great changes in Newfoundland in that time - the gradual decline of the outpost fishing communities, the loss of the fishery, joining Confederation, unemployment and migration, offshore oil, and the list goes on. At first I was ...more
Apr 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian
Overall, a good story, but no surprises. I certainly didn't get much sense of the ethereal, which was referred to on the book cover and in other reviews. Even though Aurora displayed magical characteristics at times, for the most part she lived an ordinary life, filled with the usual joys, sorrows, marital problems and angst surrounding her children. At points, however, she describes images and perceptions that she experienced as a fetus and 18 month old baby. Giving a baby such terrific recall ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Joan Clark BA, D.Litt (hon.) (née MacDonald)is a Canadian fiction author.

Born in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Clark spent her youth in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. She attended Acadia University for its drama program, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree with English