However, I digress! This blog post is about another piece of writing by Michelle Paver, Dark Matter, her ghost story for adults published in 2010. Personally, I've always been a sucker for a good ghost story. It's definitely not an easy genre to succeed with; I've certainly read
more that didn't quite hit the spot which makes you squirm inside than actually did the trick. That sense of creeping dread that should cause bristling sensations at the top of your cranium and which should be part and parcel of any self-respecting ghost story isn't an easy thing to achieve or sustain.
Michelle Paver shows her command over the written word by racking-up the tension to an almost unbearable pitch before she finally hits us with the inevitably horrible denoument. She has clearly taken a good hard look at the genre, studied and understood the ghost story's form before presenting this tale to her readers. The story has the psychological undertones which are generally present in the best ghostly tales, with a main character who's appropriately on edge from the very start. She has managed to set the book in a period and place (an Arctic expedition in 1937) that perfectly achieves the isolation desirable for kick-starting the imagination into all kinds of feverish contortions. I don't go in for spoiling plots, so you'll have to read it if you want to find out what happens, how and why.
If, like me, you're partial to sitting safely in a comfortable chair by a nice warm radiator reading
something that has the ability to cause an icy twinge to run along your spine from time to time, then you'll almost certainly enjoy this book.