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Northwest Passage by Kenneth Roberts
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really liked it
bookshelves: adventure, fiction, foreign-culture, history, novel, pre-isbn, review-liked, books-with-1001-to-10000-ratings, author-male, y-1931-1940
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I was very surprised to learn that the author had been one of the best journalists in America, before retiring in order to become a novelist. The skills of journalism have since clearly changed for the worse. I’ve learnt to be very cautious when picking up a book written by a journalist of our present day.

I found this book to be riveting reading; which given the length of this novel is a good thing!. I was terribly disappointed when I discovered the film of the similar-ish name (dir. Alfred Hitchcock) was a completely different story!

I’ve never before or since read a novel, let alone such a compelling and epic text, on the subject of unexplored America in the eighteenth century: the Americans vs the Brits vs the French, & all vs the native ‘Indians’ (who of course weren’t Indian at all), which is where this novel triumphs by including a search for the mythical North-West Passage.

The narrative of this book is vivid; sometimes uncomfortably, even horribly so. That, I suppose, is the joy of really good historical fiction; dusty bones talk, past lives, their hopes and fears come to life. Best of all there is the absolutely natural feel of ‘everyday life’ in very dangerous times; completely irrational really because the reader cannot possibly know what life for the real-life protagonists was really like. Yet that doesn’t matter one jot, because though fictional, the account of war, death and raw survival (there can be no other rational reason for eating boiled eagle) that this novel contains is so terrifically and compellingly believable.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
Finished Reading
June 18, 2012 – Shelved
June 18, 2012 – Shelved as: adventure
June 18, 2012 – Shelved as: fiction
June 18, 2012 – Shelved as: foreign-culture
June 18, 2012 – Shelved as: history
June 18, 2012 – Shelved as: novel
June 18, 2012 – Shelved as: pre-isbn
June 20, 2012 – Shelved as: review-liked
December 12, 2013 – Shelved as: books-with-1001-to-10000-ratings
September 4, 2014 – Shelved as: author-male
February 4, 2015 – Shelved as: y-1931-1940

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Stefanie (new)

Stefanie Magura The Alfread hitchcock film you were thinking of is North by Northwest. There is a film called Northwest Passage which came out in 1940 and is directed by King Vidor. It seems to be the same story as the Roberts book.


message 2: by ^ (new) - rated it 4 stars

^ Stefanie wrote: "The Alfread hitchcock film you were thinking of is North by Northwest. There is a film called Northwest Passage which came out in 1940 and is directed by King Vidor. It seems to be the same story..."

Many thanks for your straightening that one out.


Manray9 Stefanie is correct The film version of Northwest Passage starred Spencer Tracy, Robert Young, and Walter Brennan. It sticks very closely to Roberts' novel.


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