Big Books & Bold Ideas with Kerri Miller

Minnesota author Peter Geye on ‘Northernmost’

A side-by-side photo of a man and a book cover.
Minnesota author Peter Geye spoke with MPR News host Kerri Miller about his latest novel, “Northernmost,” and the inspiration behind it.
Michael Lionstar and Penguin Random House

Have you ever wondered what mourners might say about you at your memorial service? 

When Odd Einar Eide appears at his own funeral after a treacherous expedition to the Arctic, he finds his shocked and unsettled widow and a pastor spouting nonsense. Even Eide’s horse seems startled to see him.

Peter Geye’s “Northernmost” swings between towering glaciers and hungry bears to a modern-day descendant of his family enmeshed in an unhappy marriage.

The decisions his characters make in the novel seem to revolve around something that our explorer realizes: “A man should want a bigger life,” Odd Einar thinks. “He should want to make discoveries. To find a kind of happiness he could not find in his everyday lot.”

Novelist Peter Geye joined MPR News host Kerri Miller for a conversation about the inspiration behind the family saga, the undercurrent of angst within relationships and how time forces us to reflect on the legacies we leave behind.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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