To the Bright Edge of the World (Hardcover)

By Eowyn Ivey

Little Brown and Company, 9780316242851, 432pp.

Publication Date: August 2, 2016

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Description

One of the Best Books of 2016--Amazon
A Washington Post Notable Book of 2016
A Goodreads Choice Award Nominee
A Library Journal Top 10 Book of 2016
A BookPage Best Book of 2016
An atmospheric, transporting tale of adventure, love, and survival from the bestselling author of The Snow Child, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
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In the winter of 1885, decorated war hero Colonel Allen Forrester leads a small band of men on an expedition that has been deemed impossible: to venture up the Wolverine River and pierce the vast, untamed Alaska Territory. Leaving behind Sophie, his newly pregnant wife, Colonel Forrester records his extraordinary experiences in hopes that his journal will reach her if he doesn't return--once he passes beyond the edge of the known world, there's no telling what awaits him.
The Wolverine River Valley is not only breathtaking and forbidding but also terrifying in ways that the colonel and his men never could have imagined. As they map the territory and gather information on the native tribes, whose understanding of the natural world is unlike anything they have ever encountered, Forrester and his men discover the blurred lines between human and wild animal, the living and the dead. And while the men knew they would face starvation and danger, they cannot escape the sense that some greater, mysterious force threatens their lives.
Meanwhile, on her own at Vancouver Barracks, Sophie chafes under the social restrictions and yearns to travel alongside her husband. She does not know that the winter will require as much of her as it does her husband, that both her courage and faith will be tested to the breaking point. Can her exploration of nature through the new art of photography help her to rediscover her sense of beauty and wonder?
The truths that Allen and Sophie discover over the course of that fateful year change both of their lives--and the lives of those who hear their stories long after they're gone--forever.


About the Author

Eowyn LeMay Ivey was raised in Alaska and continues to live there with her husband and two daughters. She received her BA in journalism and minor in creative writing through the honors program at Western Washington University, studied creative nonfiction at the University of Alaska Anchorage graduate program, and worked for nearly 10 years as an award-winning reporter at the Frontiersman newspaper. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Snow Child.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. A major theme of the novel is how characters see the natural world in vastly different ways. How do Allen and Sophie Forrester’s understanding of the world around them differ from the native tribes that Allen and his men encounter on their journey up the Wolverine River? Which worldview lines up more closely with your own experience of nature?
  2. The author uses letters, journal entries, newspaper headlines, and other documents from the past to tell her story. How does the novel’s construction affect your reading experience?
  3. How do you think the expedition would have changed if Sophie were able to accompany Allen on his journey as she had originally planned?
  4. How do Allen’s and Sophie’s stories affect the lives of Joshua Sloan and Walter Forrester? Do they see their lives differently as they read about the events of 1885? Do you have any historical journals or letters in your own family that give you a front-row seat to the lives of your ancestors? If so, how have those documents changed your thoughts about your family and impacted your own life?
  5. The new art of photography becomes very important to Sophie. In what ways does her pursuit of art help her through a difficult time in her life? Does any art form play a similar role in your own life?
  6. Do Allen Forrester and his men change the environment and tribes that they encounter on their expedition, or are they the ones more changed?
  7. The intersection of myth and reality plays a central role in the novel. In what ways does the line between myth and reality become blurred? How do you as a reader tell the difference? And in what ways do Sophie’s and Allen’s stories take on the hint of myth as the years go by?
  8. First person narrations can at times be unreliable. How trustworthy are Allen’s and Sophie’s diary entries and letters?Do you think there’s a difference in the reliability of the narration between letters meant to be read by another person and diary entries that an individual writes to process their own lives? Do you think all the events we read about from the expedition happened as described?
  9. Are there any unexplored frontiers left in the world that Joshua Sloan and Walter Forrester live in today? Are their lives poorer for not experiencing the sense of adventure and the thrill of discovery that gave shape to Allen and Sophie's lives? Does that lack of an undiscovered country help explain why they become so fascinated with Allen and Sophie’s papers?
  10. Is To the Bridge Edge of the World primarily an adventure story, a love story, historical fiction, a mix of all three, or a different genre altogether? Why?
  11. Who do you see as the main protagonist of the novel—Allen or Sophie? Does the novel have a villain? If so, who, or what, is it?
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