Minds of Winter has lots of potential, many fascinating stories, but I felt I couldn't absorb any one as they ended and picked up again. The ending was a door shut in my face.
I really wanted to like this novel, but it turned into a slog through interesting but largely irrelevant historical events that end up contributing little to the narrative arc of the supposedly central characters. The ending is perhaps meant to be surprising, but like so much that precedes it, is irrelevant and leaves the reader as cold as the frozen artic in which it occurs.
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Minds of Winter is an ambitious novel that chronicles the effects of the disappearance of the notorious Franklin Expedition above the Arctic circle. It begins from the expedition’s inception in Van Diemen’s Land in 1841 and continues to affect polar explorers right through to present day Inuvik, North West Territories.
It’s quite a feat to cover nearly 200 years of history in a coherent and entertaining way, which is why author Ed O’Loughlin chose to sprinkle the narrative surrounding Franklin’s disappearance in between chapters regarding the protagonists, Nelson Nilsson and Fay Morgan, who are both in search of something for themselves.
Maybe stories converge at the poles. Like the lines on the map.
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