Far North

Far North

Marcel Theroux / Dec 16, 2019

Far North Far North is a National Book Award Finalist for Fiction My father had an expression for a thing that turned out bad He d say it had gone west But going west always sounded pretty good to me After

  • Title: Far North
  • Author: Marcel Theroux
  • ISBN: 9780374153533
  • Page: 432
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Far North is a 2009 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.My father had an expression for a thing that turned out bad He d say it had gone west But going west always sounded pretty good to me After all, westwards is the path of the sun And through as much history as I know of, people have moved west to settle and find freedom But our world had gone north, truly gonFar North is a 2009 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.My father had an expression for a thing that turned out bad He d say it had gone west But going west always sounded pretty good to me After all, westwards is the path of the sun And through as much history as I know of, people have moved west to settle and find freedom But our world had gone north, truly gone north, and just how far north I was beginning to learn.Out on the frontier of a failed state, Makepeace sheriff and perhaps last citizen patrols a city s ruins, salvaging books but keeping the guns in good repair.Into this cold land comes shocking evidence that life might be flourishing elsewhere a refugee emerges from the vast emptiness of forest, whose existence inspires Makepeace to reconnect with human society and take to the road, armed with rough humor and an unlikely ration of optimism.What Makepeace finds is a world unraveling stockaded villages enforcing an uncertain justice and hidden work camps laboring to harness the little understood technologies of a vanished civilization But Makepeace s journey rife with danger also leads to an unexpected redemption.Far North takes the reader on a quest through an unforgettable arctic landscape, from humanity s origins to its possible end Haunting, spare, yet stubbornly hopeful, the novel is suffused with an ecstatic awareness of the world s fragility and beauty, and its ability to recover from our worst trespasses.

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    About "Marcel Theroux"

      • Marcel Theroux

        Marcel Raymond Theroux is a British novelist and broadcaster He is the older son of the American travel writer and novelist, Paul Theroux His younger brother, Louis Theroux, is a journalist and television reporter.Born in Kampala, Uganda, Theroux was brought up in Wandsworth, London After attending a state primary school he boarded at Westminster School He went on to study English at Clare College of the University of Cambridge and international relations at Yale University Currently he lives in London and is married His French last name originates from the region around Sarthe and Yonne in France It is quite common in Francophone countries and is originally spelled Th roux His paternal grandfather was French Canadian.He wrote The Stranger in The Earth and The Confessions of Mycroft Holmes a paper chase for which he won the Somerset Maugham Award in 2002 His third novel, A Blow to the Heart, was published by Faber in 2006 His fourth, Far North, a future epic set in the Siberian taiga, was published in June 2009 He worked in television news in New York and Boston.In 2004 he presented The End of the World as We Know It part of the War on Terra television series about climate change on Channel 4, for which he was chosen as presenter precisely because he initially knew nothing about the subject He even had a preconception about environmentalists being spoilsports opposed to progress But during his research he became convinced that we face a global problem, on a scale so serious that an expansion of nuclear energy is probably the best solution choosing the lesser evil He reached this conclusion partly via the subjects of several interviews, amongst them Gerhard Bertz of insurance agency Munich Re, who indicated that in the past 20 years payments for natural disasters have increased by 500 percent During another, with Royal Dutch Shell chairman Lord Ron Oxburgh, a PR assistant intervened to curtail the conversation, apparently because Oxburgh s negative views on the consequences of current oil consumption were considered detrimental to the corporation s image.In March 2006 Theroux presented Death of a Nation on More4, as part of the The State of Russia series In the program he explored the country s post Soviet problems including population decline, the growing AIDS epidemic and the persecution of the Meskhetian Turks.On 28 September 2008 he presented Oligart The Great Russian Art Boom on Channel 4 about how Russia s rich are keeping Russia s art history alive by buying, and exhibiting domestic art.On 16 March 2009, Marcel Theroux presented In Search of Wabi sabi on BBC Four as part of the channel s Hidden Japan season of programming Marcel travelled throughout Japan trying to understand the aesthetic tastes of Japan and its people.


    1. Powerful book. Powerful, magnificent, but brutal and bleak. Makepeace is one of the most resilient characters that I have ever come across while reading fiction. I have noticed that many reviews here give away too much of the plot. I would advice against reading them as the magnificence of this book comes out through Marcel Theroux's ingenious writing. He tells you the story by Makepeace's point of view but everytime Theroux holds something back and reveals it finally in a single sentence as if [...]

    2. You know that Tom Hanks movie, Cast Away, the one where Hank's character is stranded on an island alone and everyone on the plane with him that crashed is dead? He has a few reminders from civilization, undelivered packages, some toys – a volleyball. Now imagine that he never got off the island and imagine that it was really really cold. Now imagine that he met some slavers and what happened after that was not pleasant. Then imagine that he met some opportunists who do anything to control thei [...]

    3. I was drawn to this book because of its setting in the north and post-apocalyptic genre, but I was pleasantly surprised by some of its distinctives. First, it has a female protagonist, which I found an enjoyable and insightful viewpoint, as the experience and vulnerability of women in a world gone to hell takes on different shapes than that of men. Further, the protagonist (Makepeace) is witty, philosophical, worldly, and acerbic--thus, accompanying her thoughts is usually quite enjoyable. She c [...]

    4. What took place in this took me completely by surprise. All of it, from start to finish. To say much would be to spoil it. I read this is pretty much one sitting. I think that in itself can say much about a book (and that I had a day off to devote to it). It deserves it. My day off. I feel satisfied. If you like PA, this is something you may like. If you don't like Post Apocalypse novels, I still suggest this one. I find it strangely relevant to the times we are in. The warming of the Arctic, th [...]

    5. Where I got the book: my own selection, from the library.Makepeace is a survivor in an age where drought and famine have wiped out most of the population. A remnant of a religious community that settled the farthest northern reaches of Asia, Makepeace struggles with the choice between isolated self-sufficiency and reaching out to other humans in an age where brutality is the norm.Far North is a compelling book. I've always loved end-of-days novels, and if you've ever read John Wyndham's 1950s cl [...]

    6. Let me start by saying it took me 11 days to read this book. 300 pages over 11 days is, what, 27-odd pages a day which is VERY unusual for me. I do confess that I was in something of a reading slump when I started this, so please take what I say with a pinch of salt!This book is beautifully written in a bleak, harsh and short way, full of twists that I didn’t see coming, and gradually reveals its secrets at the right parts of the story.Without giving away too many twists and secrets, I just fo [...]

    7. what an awesome little book. reminded me of maureen f. mchugh's Mission Child, except told even more sparelyis is my favorite kind of sf read: a first-person narrative of a small world, intensely and intimately experienced. no view from orbit here--everything is close-up, full of sensory detail, and all acts have significance and meaninge narrator here is a the sole remaining inhabitant of a former utopian town. she doesn't remain alone for long, however, so it's a good thing she's got plenty of [...]

    8. Marcel Theroux’s Far North is a tale of endurance and survival, though not necessarily in the way one might anticipate.Our narrator is Makepeace Hatfield, the constable of a frontier town in Siberia, though she’s not really sure how many people there are to protect and/or fend off any more. Makepeace is the daughter of parents who, along with others from the US, settled in Siberia looking for a simpler life, environmental changes having put intolerable pressures on the life they knew. It did [...]

    9. This is the second time I have read this book. I was contemplating what to read next and came across this on my Nook. I remember it from 5 years ago but didn't remember specifics, so I thought I would read about 10 pages to jolt my memory. After 50 pages, I was hooked again and had to re-read it. This is a dystopian novel but how the end happened does not matter as much as what life and survival and humanity means now that the world has changed. Makepeace is the main character and it's her musin [...]

    10. If Cormac McCarthy’s brutal western Blood Meridian were set in the dystopian future of The Road and then translated into home-spun sentences by Larry McMurtry, you’d approach Far North, by Marcel Theroux. Narrated by Makepeace, the constable of a barren, post-apocalyptic town in Siberia, Far North is a story about survival in a struggling world. A “broken age,” as Makepeace tells it. One in which human beings who are deprived of food and “unwatched” are rat cunning and will not just [...]

    11. This one is bleak. Not quite as soul-crushing as The Road, but definitely harsh. That is part of the beauty of it though.Thoroughly engrossing, with a main character (Makepeace) you can enjoy getting to know, both the good and the bad. Makepeace is someone you can't help but admire for sheer stubborn will to live. I also found the various survival aspects interesting - it never fails to amaze me how authors in the post-apocalyptic genre continue to find new ways to demonstrate the various diffic [...]

    12. This is a wonderfully engrossing story - couldn't put it down and stayed up too late each night reading it. Other than the almost preternatural calm that Makepeace displays throughout the book, seems like a very real, plausible way for the world to go. Highly recommend.

    13. If you're looking for a novel with a strong female protagonist who is never overshadowed by any male characters or caught up in romantic subplots, Far North beats most of those I've read.The strength of this novel is the protagonist and first-person narrator, Makepeace. She's tough, practical, and capable of being violent when she has to be, but never without purpose or remorse. She has a very straightforward way of telling her story -- she doesn't seem to dwell on things or spend too much time [...]

    14. This was shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award in 2010, but lost out to Miéville’s The City The City. It is yet another US post-apocalypse novel. The writer is British, but the son of US author Paul Theroux; and the novel is actually set in Siberia. The central premise is that Siberia was opened to American settlers, but then some sort of catastrophe did for the rest of the world, and those remaining in the “Far North” gradually succumbed to the usual violence, rape and warlordism. Th [...]

    15. With a good start and alot of potential what went wrong??Far North is a Post Apocalyptic book which is a mixture of books such as The Road, Station Eleven set in a sort of new Ice Age and reads slightly like a western in places.With a promising start this book does draw you in too a cruel world however the writing style of this book and decisions made by the author are just awful in places. The author seems to change his mind time and time again about where to take the story and he sort of just [...]

    16. Normally I like to know something about a book before I start reading it, but more and more I find I'm just clicking onto the next on my Kindle and going with the flow. Sometimes that yields unexpected gems. Thrust into this novel with no idea of its subject, I'm delighted I didn't read a blurb beforehand because that is exactly how this book should be read. It's clearly post-apocalyptic, but what apocalypse? It's in first-person narration and, trust me, you get a bit of a jolt about the identit [...]

    17. A great read. Makepeace Hatfield is a first-rate fictional character who is destined to appear on a movie screen. A thought provoking page-turner. A book full of surprises to the very end, and depictions of a world that are both repelling and tantalizing. Marcel Theroux has a great eye for detail and nuance. The first novel of Theroux's I have read, and I will make it a point to read his three earlier novels.The 1st American edition text was marred in a few places by transposed words, an otherwi [...]

    18. I liked the book, overall, and I thought Makepeace was an easy and likable narrator. I just felt, for a book about the end of the world and the aftermath of global catastrophe, there wasn't much _urgency_ to the book. Makepeace was at times _too_ easygoing. Theroux writes well about the Siberian landscape, and there are the occasional very pretty turns of phrase, but ultimately I found the book a bit forgettable. Ultimately, I wish he'd written a present-day (or even historical) novel about wild [...]

    19. As the world grew crowded and warm, but before it all fell apart, waves of settlers uprooted themselves from across America to pursue utopian dreams in cold Siberia. Makepeace Hatfield is born into one of these idealistic communes, and grows into adulthood as the world falls apart. We learn a little of the history of the unraveling of the world when Makepeace pauses to look back, but mostly this is a book of forward motion, even when the motion has no purpose but to keep on moving. Our hero live [...]

    20. I've been reading a lot of PA stuff lately. I think it is because there is a lot of it available, but I've always been a bit of a PA/dystopia nerd. And either because a previously unmet demand is suddenly being met, or it's just become faddish, there's a lot of new PA novels out there. I have to say that the past few have been some of my favourites. It's a layered narrative with revelations about the protagonist, Makepeace, gradually uncovered throughout the book. It's also probably the only boo [...]

    21. An outstanding, well-written, postapocalyptic odyssey of an American-born expatriate in Siberia, repeatedly hurt both physically and emotionally, who yearns to know something of the outside world and is repeatedly forced to struggle to survive in a harsh, unforgiving world. Makepeace is an intelligent, compelling character, but often naive, who nonethless is a survivor and an observer of man. Anyone who enjoys this genre will find a dash of McCarthy in this, though the styles are very different [...]

    22. Very disappointing. I am a huge fan of Paul Theroux and assumed stupidly that his talent would inform his brother's work. Not so. I found this book to be pretentious, boring, monochromatic, and eventually annoying as I hurried to find the climax, redemption or vision. could not relate to the protagonist in the least, and therefor could not care about her adventures which seemed like a really repetitive dragging around in the frozen wastes of some dystopian world. There was so much navigational i [...]

    23. A very compelling, often brutal, take on a possible world to come. Theroux has a knack for understatement, often using it to conceal character traits and motivations. Scenes that other authors would turn into lurid descriptions of blood and gore were written sparsely, almost downplayed. I appreciate when an author uses this technique effectively. I do have a few issues with the tidiness of the story. That is, the ending seemed just a bit contrived, with the character having an opportunity to fac [...]

    24. I read this hungrily, and felt the cold and awfulness of the setting while doing so! A story set in a kind of dystopian/alternate future Siberia mixed with lots of Wild West tropes, which chronicled the depressing path of a fierce woman's life that she refuses to give up. I loved some of the scenes created, and connected to the main character. Her gender was hidden for a time but also crucial to her characterization and I was surprised how integral it was to each beat in the plot. Her life was p [...]

    25. I listened to the audiobook version of this, so I'm sure I had an advantage over those who choose to read it. Do not read this book while depressed and don't read it while you're happy either. There isn't any moment to look back on and smile with this book. I can't say I'd recommend it to anyone. If you read the book summary, then you know pretty much what happens. It starts off with no hope, and that's how it ends. It is a fine piece of writing, and I don't regret reading it, but I'd never read [...]

    26. Das Leben in den Städten ist für einige Menschen unerträglich geworden, so zogen sie in Siedlungen in Sibirien, auf der Suche nach einem ursprünglichen, ehrlicheren Leben. Hier ist Makepeace Hatfield geboren und aufgewachsen. Doch Überbevölkerung, Erderwärmung, Krankheiten und Kriege schwemmten Flüchtlinge in ihre Refugien in der Arktis. Die Spannungen zwischen ihnen zerstörte innerhalb kurzer Zeit das menschliche Zusammenleben. Nun ist Makepeace ganz allein in einer Geisterstadt. Bis s [...]

    27. The first 60 pages of this novel are excellent: suspenseful and written in clear effective prose that serves well the slow pace of revelations about the character and her world. After that, the novel does not work for me at all. I found Theroux’s narrative of the episodes in the forced-labor camp puzzling and disturbing. At moments it seems the character is describing summer camp rather than a forced-labor camp. The “prisoners” (that is, the slaves) are for the most part brutish and have n [...]

    28. I took this because many reviewers were linked this with "Oryx and Crake" by M. Atwood and "The Road" by C. McCarthy (which I haven't read btw; but I have them on my to-be-read pile and I know I'll like them).Surely it was very interesting read and something I usually don't read. Post-apocalypse somewhere in Siberia; life in destroyed cities; radioactive or full of deadly germs; totally deprived humanity among those who have survived the world as know it doesn't exist; native peoples with their [...]

    29. "This is the way the world ends: Not with a bang but a whimper" (T S Eliot)In Northern Siberia, Makepeace Hatfield is the last survivor of a colony of American Quakers who've moved to Siberia, with the Russian government's blessing, to establish the sort of community that English Quakers came to America to create.We're never told exactly what has caused the total collapse of civilization, but we do know that global warming is involved - the growing season in the Arctic is increasing - and that t [...]

    30. A classic born, waiting to be discovered like a meal in the harsh cruel ruins of humanity. I hated "The Road" for its rambling, and bleak lack of "soul." This book spoke of how humans continue fighting for a better life, finding hope, continually losing it, and finally in the "Fall of our lives" realizing the only hope we can cling to is that our children will live better lives, forgive us our trespasses, while we bravely proclaim wanting better, but selfishly clinging to the hope they'll remain [...]

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