Historical fiction and magical realism meet in Alaska

'To the Bright Edge of the World' by Eowyn Ivey
'To the Bright Edge of the World' by Eowyn Ivey
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Charlotte Glover Parnassus Books in Ketchikan, Ala.

"A lot of folks do not know the name Eowyn Ivey outside the state of Alaska," says Charlotte Glover.

But they should.

Ivey's first novel "The Snow Child" was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. It's her second book, though — "To the Bright Edge of the World" — that "has ruined me for all other books, for almost two years," Glover said.

"It is an absolute masterpiece of tone and content and historical fiction. I'm just completely in love with it, and I don't think any other book is going to equal that in a long time."

In it, Ivey melds historical fiction "with a smidge of magical realism."

"It's strongly based on the real journals of an Army captain who mapped part of Alaska," Glover said. In the novel, a fictional Army captain sets out on a mapping expedition. His young wife plans to accompany him, but when she becomes pregnant, she has to stay behind in the barracks in Vancouver.

"The bulk of the book is their correspondence, and so it is a Lewis and Clark-type wilderness expedition, mapping a fictional river in Alaska, but told in the voice of a very lyrical woman. It's the most yin-yang book I've ever read in my entire career, where it's so lyrical and lovely, but at the same time it's dealing with an incredibly hard expedition."

"There are just so many elements to this book that make it so satisfying and so delicious and so worth reading over and over again that it's just ruined me."

To the Bright Edge of the World To the Bright Edge of the World

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