The North Water

The North Water

A Novel

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
10
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One of The New York Times Book Review 's 10 Best Books of the Year

National Bestseller

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Winner of the RSL Encore Award

Finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize

A New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller

Named a Best Book of the Year by Chicago Tribune , The Wall Street Journal , The Guardian , New Statesman , Publishers Weekly , and Chicago Public Library


Behold the man: stinking, drunk, and brutal. Henry Drax is a harpooner on the Volunteer , a Yorkshire whaler bound for the rich hunting waters of the arctic circle. Also aboard for the first time is Patrick Sumner, an ex-army surgeon with a shattered reputation, no money, and no better option than to sail as the ship's medic on this violent, filthy, and ill-fated voyage.

In India, during the Siege of Delhi, Sumner thought he had experienced the depths to which man can stoop. He had hoped to find temporary respite on the Volunteer , but rest proves impossible with Drax on board. The discovery of something evil in the hold rouses Sumner to action. And as the confrontation between the two men plays out amid the freezing darkness of an arctic winter, the fateful question arises: who will survive until spring?

With savage, unstoppable momentum and the blackest wit, Ian McGuire's The North Water weaves a superlative story of humanity under the most extreme conditions.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, c2016
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9781627795944
Branch Call Number: FIC MCG
Characteristics: 255 p. ;,25 cm.

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t
tcedwards
Mar 02, 2018

NYT book review summed it up best: picture a meeting between Joseph Conrad and Cormac McCarthy in some run-down port as they offer each other a long, sour nod of recognition.

susankent Jan 29, 2018

The many great qualities of this novel give it wide appeal; from the suspense-filled plot to the fascinating character of Sumner, it has all the makings of a classic!

d
DeltaQueen50
Jan 13, 2018

The North Water by Ian McGuire with it’s vivid descriptions, foul smells and dangerous situations is one of the most visceral novels I have read. The story includes episodes of rape, animal cruelty and murder, all revealed with an excess of gore and violence and elevated by the author’s excellent writing and character development. I loved this unflinching tale of men at their basest level.

This book takes an unsparing look at men as they battle both the elements and each other and if you can handle a dark tale full of carnage and bloodshed then I would recommend The North Water as an excellent read.

m
mawall
Jun 20, 2017

This novel contains foul language, horrific gore, rape, murder, animal cruelty, and other examples of total moral bankruptcy and I absolutely loved it.I loved it for the author’s laser-focused descriptive writing and realistic character development. I loved it for its highly suspenseful story and well-researched and seamlessly-blended historical detail. I loved it for its outward exploration of the Arctic world and for its more inward moral and psychological explorations.

q
Quidnuncle
Jun 12, 2017

A pithy, historical adventure with dark themes. Evocative, brutal descriptions of war, ice flows and whaling. It's sure to be snapped up by Hollywood and will star Di Caprio in this Titanic meets The Revenant.

g
goso
Apr 02, 2017

beautiful writing....and in a subject I don't even cared. made me a believer in the narrative. a lot of similarities with movie The Revenant

m
MillieBT
Feb 09, 2017

A gruesome novel about a whaling expedition gone wrong in the middle of 19th century......a dark unsettling novel....not for the faint hearted.....

l
looper46
Feb 01, 2017

O.M.G.!! As my old college lit. professor used to say"This is strong meat" What a book...not a cheerful moment; lots of violence, sodomy and murder on the high seas. That being said, its a heck of a read. You have to come up for air once in a while, but you can get thru it if you love good writing. Give it a try; not for everyone.

u
uncommonreader
Jan 14, 2017

This is a book about darkness and evil. None of the characters, except the Inuit and perhaps the surgeon, have any relationship with nature, which is portrayed as indifferent and unrelenting. One could question why the author would write a book about evil in this way, but it has a strong narrative push and is quite readable.

u
unicorn1
Nov 22, 2016

This is a gripping story and very well written. I must say though that I was taken aback by the offensive language and violence, although it was necessary in order to tell the story realistically. So this is just a warning that if you have a low tolerance for crude language and violence, including graphic description of cruelty to animals (and people), this may not be your cup of tea or should I say mug of whiskey. Having said that, I read it all and found it fascinating.

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