Far North – Marcel Theroux

Paperchase was one of my favourite reads of 2008 and so I have been on the library waiting list for Marcel Theroux’s latest book from the moment I discovered it had been printed.

Far North is set in the near future, in a post-apocalyptic world. The central character, Makepeace, lives in a dying town in Siberia. Struggling against the cold and isolation she fights for survival, but without law and order she lives in constant fear.

I loved the way in which the world we live now was discussed. Stories of flags on the moon and cities of glass were passed around like unbelievable fairy tales. The people left fighting for survival struggled to imagine a world of luxury and plenty. This book gave a strong reminder to be grateful for everything we have now and how easily it could all be taken away.

I told him that from what I had observed, it only took three days before desperation and hunger overturned all civilized instinct in a person. He smiled and said I had a bleak view of human nature, and that in his experience, it was nearer to four days. 

Marcel Theroux is an amazing story teller; all the characters were strong, believable individuals and the plot was compelling. Unfortunately, the book was quite depressing throughout; any hope seemed to be squashed as soon as it appeared. It wasn’t a tear-jerker – just a depressing view of a possible future for the human race.

Recommended for the thought-provoking story, but don’t read it if you are feeling a bit down.


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  1. Simon S says:

    Oooh this sounds really good, hadn’t heard of it intil now! Thanks Jackie.

    1. Jackie says:

      I’m pleased to have introduced a new book to you!

      1. Beth F says:

        Never mind me… one misplaced word and one misplaced comma…. This is another reason I like audio; less of a bus man’s holiday.

  2. Claire says:

    I have Paperchase on my wishlist and must add this too.
    I like the author’s younger brother, Louis :) .

    1. Jackie says:

      I love Louis too! I plan to read some books by Paul Theroux (their uncle?) soo too!

      1. Claire says:

        Father. They’re a talented family.

  3. Beth F says:

    Sounds interesting. The two editorial errors in the quote kind of threw me, but I’ll remain open-minded.

    1. Jackie says:

      I wish I had the book here so I could check that the quote again – I think I copied it exactly though.

  4. Sandy says:

    OK, Paperchase has been duly noted on my Jackie list. I will read that one, and take it from there!

    1. Jackie says:

      Paperchase is very short too! I hope you enjoy it.

  5. Jenny says:

    Oo, I want! I am getting more and more fond of dystopian fiction these days, and I like the excerpt you quoted a lot! I love it when the real world (I mean, our world) is in the characters’ recent memory – because it would be so easy for everything to change.

    1. Jackie says:

      I love dystopian fiction too. It is one of my favourite genres at the moment.

  6. Diane says:

    Great review; glad you enjoyed this one. I have to check out Paperchase!

  7. Diane says:

    LOL..I just porchased Paperchase on Amazon from someone in the UK for .02 cents plus $3.99 s/h. Like New Condition. The story sounds amazing. Thanks Jackie

    1. Jackie says:

      Great! I look forward to hearing what you think of it!

  8. Violet says:

    Reminds me of The Road, not that I have read it but still. Seems a very depressing book though like you mentioned. I did not read past 15 pages of The Road because I found it too depressing.

    1. Jackie says:

      I haven’t read The Road so I’m afraid I can’t compare them, but I think this is a bit different. This probably has a more interesting plot, and is a bit less dark, but I am just guessing. I plan to read The Road soon so I’ll let you know!

  9. Andreea says:

    This isn’t a book that I would normally pick, but it does sound engaging! Thanks for the review!

    1. Jackie says:

      I love discovering new books I wouldn’t normally pick up – one of the best things about blogging!

  10. Mon says:

    Hi, just stumbled across your blog.
    This one sounds interesting, but too depressing for me right now. Thanks for mentuoning that.

    Enjoying your blog!

    1. Jackie says:

      I’m pleased to hear you are enjoying my blog. Thank you for commenting for the first time! Your blog looks great – I look forward to investigating it a bit more when I get back from my holiday.

  11. Swati says:

    This sounds amazing. I recently read Road and this sounds similar. I’m going to see if my library has this book

    1. Jackie says:

      I’m beginning to wish I’d read The Road first! It would have been interesting to compare the two – hopefully I’ll get round to it soon.

  12. Nymeth says:

    You had me at post-apocalyptic :P

    Also! You’ve been nominated for a BBAW award, but we couldn’t find your e-mail address to notify you. Could you e-mail mypalamyATgmailDOTcom for the details? Thanks, and congratulations! :D

    1. Jackie says:

      How exciting! I’ve left a comment on your blog with my email address, but I’m afraid I won’t have access to it until Monday. I hope this is OK and look forward to finding out the details.

  13. Jenners says:

    Sounds like it might be a good companion to “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy.


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