Afterlands

by Steven Heighton

In 1871, nineteen men, women, and children, voyaging on the Arctic explorer USS Polaris found themselves cast adrift on an ice floe as their ship began to founder. Based on one of the most remarkable events in polar history, Afterlands tells the haunting story of this small society of castaways -- a white and a black American, five Germans, a Dane, a Swede, an Englishman, and two Inuit families -- and the harrowing six months they spend marooned in the Arctic, struggling to survive both the harsh elements and one another. As the group splinters into factions along ethnic and national lines, rivalries -- complicated by sexual desire, unrequited love, extreme hunger, and suspicion -- begin to turn violent. Steven Heighton's provocative novel fills in the blanks of the Polaris's documented history and explores the shattering emotional and psychological consequences faced by those who survive.

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780618773411
  • ISBN-10: 061877341X
  • Pages: 432
  • Publication Date: 02/05/2007
  • Carton Quantity: 32

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About the Book
About the Author
Reviews
  • About the Book
    In 1871, nineteen men, women, and children, voyaging on the Arctic explorer USS Polaris found themselves cast adrift on an ice floe as their ship began to founder. Based on one of the most remarkable events in polar history, Afterlands tells the haunting story of this small society of castaways -- a white and a black American, five Germans, a Dane, a Swede, an Englishman, and two Inuit families -- and the harrowing six months they spend marooned in the Arctic, struggling to survive both the harsh elements and one another. As the group splinters into factions along ethnic and national lines, rivalries -- complicated by sexual desire, unrequited love, extreme hunger, and suspicion -- begin to turn violent. Steven Heighton's provocative novel fills in the blanks of the Polaris's documented history and explores the shattering emotional and psychological consequences faced by those who survive.

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  • About the Author
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  • Reviews
    "Skillfully constructed, beautifully written...Afterlands is a superior example of a rare breed: the literary adventure story." --Book World The Washington Post

    "A big, ambitious literary adventure tale full of blood, gristle, and soul...Afterlands conveys in stark yet beautiful prose the awful reality of what happens both on the ice and in [the soul]." Guardian

    "A magnificent novel about the wreckage of history -- both the history that happens to us and the versions of it we create." The New York Times Book Review

    "A sophisticated, densley layered fictional exploration of survival, love, betrayal, adn the personal cost of history...a novel of big ideas and beautiful language." The New York Times Book Review

    "Compelling, vividly imagined, and written in rich and precise prose...But the real force of the book comes from the currents of history -- of young nations rising and ancient civilizations ebbing -- that run just below the surface." The Financial Times of London

    "Unforgettable...a big, wide, deep book...an intensely felt fiction." The Globe and Mail

    "A masterpiece, packed to the rafters with sumptuous language, sweeping vistas, contained fury, sorrow, and unrequited love." --Daily Express (UK)

    "A terrific read...Heighton excels in telling a tale of hardship, madness, love, loyalty, and sacrifice." --Irish Examiner

    "A wonderful, whiteout epic." Gentleman's Quarterly

    "A rich tale...a story of grand human passions...a subtle portrait of qualified heroism and ambiguous villainy." --Sunday Times (South Africa)

    "Superb...There's nail-biting adventure, unforgettable character studies, lessons about the resurgance of nationalism in today's post-9/11 world." --Ottawa Citizen

    "A shattering read." Men's Journal

    "[A] dramatic, visually stunning tour-de-force." Kirkus Reviews

    "Terrific...this novel's scale, its delight in detail, and its psychological insight make it an exceptionally satisfying adventure." Publishers Weekly

    Selected as a Best Book of the Year by Globe & Mail, National Post, Vancouver Sun, Ottawa Citizen, and others

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