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Book Title: Afterlands|
The author of the book: Steven Heighton
ISBN 13: 9780676976786
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 1.76 MB
Edition: Vintage Canada
Date of issue: August 1st 2006
Read full description of the books Afterlands:In 1872, the USS Polaris sailed for the Arctic on a mission to hoist the U.S. flag at the North Pole. But the expedition was a failure, and half of the party – nineteen men, women and children of different nationalities–were cast adrift on an ice floe off the coast of Ellesmere Island, where they endured six desperate months of starvation, bloodshed and other horrors. Afterlands, a profoundly moving and gripping book, takes characters drawn from history and transforms their experiences into an absorbing tale of unrequited love, unsettled scores and the high cost of loyalty.
The novel begins in 1876, when three of the survivors – George Tyson, Tukulito and Roland Kruger–are uneasily reunited four years after they were rescued from the ice. They are still inextricably connected by their ordeal–and Tyson has recently published an account of their shattering experiences which casts Kruger as a spy and villain, and disgraces Tukulito as well.
What happened on the ice, as Afterlands explores, was far more complex. The heart of the book moves between Tyson’s diaries and a riveting narrative of Arctic survival. From the moment they are set adrift, and even before, Kruger and Tyson seem destined to clash: Kruger is an intelligent individualist, an outsider who refuses to be loyal to any one country; Tyson, meanwhile, is a flawed but sometimes brilliant leader, a man who needs to constantly be testing himself against the world. Brave but also insecure, he is unable to stop the German contingent of his party from banding together under their national flag in an armed near-mutiny on the drifting ice.
The third key character in this book, Tukulito, was the Arctic’s first professional interpreter. Known also as Hannah, she moves between two worlds: expert at gutting a seal, she has also had tea with Queen Victoria. Her different roles – translator, mother, mender, marksman – keep the party from disaster, as suspicion and violence increase. And the quiet, impossible passion Kruger feels for her almost redeems their lives in a frozen hell.
But Afterlands is also a novel about what follows the life-changing event: the long shadow it casts, as well as the conflicting stories that compete to become historical record. Back in the world, the protagonists will experience various degrees of tragedy. Tukulito’s is perhaps the most personal, while Tyson, who sought only to gain the world’s esteem, is disgraced by later failure. Kruger, meanwhile, attempts to disappear into Mexico, again seeking a place beyond “the colonels of the world” – but he finds himself, perhaps inevitably, drawn once more into the unending conflicts between nations, between peoples.
This novel is a triumph of storytelling from one of Canada’s most acclaimed writers. Gripping and beautiful, it is a scintillating exploration of the extremes of human experience. Afterlands brilliantly examines both a devastating encounter with the natural world and the unrelenting demands of the human heart.
From the Hardcover edition.
Read information about the authorSteven Heighton (born August 14, 1961) is a Canadian novelist, short story writer and poet. He is the author of ten books, including two short story collections, three novels, and five poetry collections. His most recent novel, Every Lost Country, was published in 2010.
Heighton was born in Toronto, Ontario, and earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree, at Queens University.
Heighton's most recent books are the novel Every Lost Country (May 2010)  and the poetry collection Patient Frame (April 2010).
Heighton is also the author of the novel Afterlands (2006),which appeared in six countries. The book has recently been optioned for film. Steven Heighton's debut novel, The Shadow Boxer (2001), a story about a young poet-boxer and his struggles growing up, also appeared in five countries.
His work has been translated into ten languages and widely anthologised. His books have been nominated for the Governor General’s Award, the Trillium Award, the Journey Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and Britain’s W.H. Smith Award (best book of the year). He has received the Gerald Lampert Award, gold medals for fiction and for poetry in the National Magazine Awards, the Air Canada Award, and the 2002 Petra Kenney Prize. Flight Paths of the Emperor has been listed at Amazon.ca as one of the ten best Canadian short story collections.
Heighton has been the writer-in-residence at McArthur College, Queen's University and The University of Ottawa. He has also participated in several workshops including the Summer Literary Seminars, poetry work shop, in St. Petersburg, Russia (2007), and the Writing with Style, short fiction workshop, in Banff, Alberta (2007).
Heighton currently lives in Kingston, Ontario with his family.
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