Julie Christine's Reviews > Everland

Everland by Rebecca Hunt
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it was amazing
bookshelves: past-and-present-setting, best-of-2018, historical-fiction, read-2018

File this under, "Why had I not heard of this book before now?" It was only by chance I found it; a far-away friend saw it in a display at her local library, took a chance, and loved it. Then came a 'What are you reading now?' discussion in a Facebook group. She raved about it, I found it at my local library and, you guys, SO GOOD. This is the frustration of modern publishing: so many books. So very many books in the world, most of them not so very good. And the gems get lost in the shuffle.

Two Antarctic expeditions, set a century apart. The first, which ended in disaster, is the stuff of legends and side-taking amongst a group of modern researchers stationed at Aegeus, a fictitious Antarctic base. In 1913, three men set out in a dinghy from the main ship to explore the island of Everland: hard-bitten, calculating First Mate Napps, straight-talking, fearless Millet-Bass, and tenderfoot Dinners, who is as out of his element as a fish on a bicycle. A storm strands them on the island and only Dinners is found alive, barely, weeks later when the rescue crew is finally able to reach them. Napps' diaries survive, but the truth they reveal is circumspect. What really happened on the Everland expedition remains frozen in time and lost memory.

One hundred years later, three more adventurers set out for Everland on an anniversary expedition: Decker, on his last Antarctic gig; he's weary but an undeniable leader, Jess, a tough, but scarily competent field assistant, and Brix, a research scientist prone to tears over her ineptitude.

The novel moves back and forth between these two expeditions, sending out frissons of tension that become a cold and desperate thriller. The physical strain of survival is vividly portrayed, and the mental agony of isolation at the frozen end of the earth when you don't trust the very people who hold your survival in their hands is unnerving and heart-poundingly wrought.

Even more compelling are the echoes of similarity between the two expeditions and how little has changed on Everland in the intervening years: a patch lichen encountered by both teams is a thousand years old and grows a millimeter in a century, a pat of butter retains its knifemarks through the decades, a body frozen in time is eerily unchanged. And human nature remains the most immune to the passage of time.

Rebecca Hunt's writing is spare and unflinching. Her wry humor and taut dialogue are best suited to the modern day chapters, but each story is evocative of this place of desperate beauty. This is an outstanding and powerful read.
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Reading Progress

January 12, 2018 – Shelved
January 12, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
January 15, 2018 – Started Reading
January 15, 2018 – Shelved as: past-and-present-setting
January 17, 2018 –
page 99
30.94% "I'm amazed I hadn't heard of this book before. It is outstanding. A friend happened upon it by chance at her library and recommended it. Where has this book been? Add it to your list. It's that good."
January 18, 2018 – Shelved as: best-of-2018
January 18, 2018 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
January 18, 2018 – Shelved as: read-2018
January 18, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Kinga I really liked it too!

I actually ended up in an event where the author was speaking just after it came out. I got a copy but it took me forever to get round to reading it. :)

Julie Christine Kinga wrote: "I really liked it too!

I actually ended up in an event where the author was speaking just after it came out. I got a copy but it took me forever to get round to reading it. :)"

Lucky you to hear her speak! So glad you like this one, too :-)

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