Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Chill Out

In my new column for the Kirkus Reviews Web site, I critique White Heat (Viking), a remarkable new novel of diabolical crime and distinctive cultures, written by UK author M.J. McGrath. Set around the bleak vastness of Ellesmere Island, in far northern Canada, it’s said to be just the opening installment in a series. I write that
the author’s portrayal of Inuit culture is as impressive as it is captivating. Her players sup on sea urchins, sip bladder-busting quantities of hot tea, share the legends of their forefathers, divert themselves from months-long darkness with silent-movie screenings and muse on how their perspectives toward the natural environment diverge from those accepted elsewhere. (“Locals often said the difference between Inuit and southerners was that southerners thought of ice as frozen water, whereas the Inuit knew that water was merely melted ice.”) Oh, and they do all of this without interrupting the story’s momentum.
I haven’t many complaints to voice about White Heat, other than a couple I spell out in the review, and the fact that the map of Ellesmere and environs featured at the front of this book actually misspells the name of the small town where so much of McGrath’s story takes place. It’s Autisaq, guys, not Aktisaq. (Whatever proofreader let that slip through is going to be kicking him- or herself for a very long while.)

You’ll find my full piece here.

1 comment:

indium said...

great article , thanks