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...Read More
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, but now, trapped in the wooden belly of the ship with Drax, he encounters pure evil and is forced to act.
As the true purposes of the expedition become clearer, the confrontation between the two men plays out amid the freezing darkness of an arctic winter.
Ian McGuire grew up near Hull, England, and studied at the University of Manchester and the University of Virginia in the United States. He is the cofounder and codirector of the University of Manchester's Centre for New Writing. He writes criticism and fiction, and his stories have been published in Chicago Review, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. The North Water is his second novel.
"A stunning achievement, by turns great fun and shocking, thrilling and provocative....Behold: one of the finest books of the year." - The Independent (London)
"Riveting and darkly brilliant...The North Water feels like the result of an encounter between Joseph Conrad and Cormac McCarthy in some run-down port as they offer each other a long, sour nod of recognition." - Colm Toibin, The New York Times Book Review
"The North Water, Ian McGuire's savage new novel about a 19th-century Arctic whaling expedition, is a great white shark of a book--swift, terrifying, relentless and unstoppable....Mr. McGuire is such a natural storyteller--and recounts his tale here with such authority and verve--that The North Water swiftly immerses the reader in a fully imagined world.....He has written an allusion-filled novel that still manages to feel original, a violent tale of struggle and survival in a cinematically beautiful landscape." - Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"[An] audacious work of historical suspense fiction...It's the poetic precision of McGuire's harsh vision of the past that makes his novel such a standout...absolutely transporting." - Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air
"Mesmerizing...Told in grisly language that calls to mind Cormac McCarthy, The North Water begs such ontological questions as: What profit it a man who saves his skin but misplaces his soul?" - Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal