I felt the worlds of ocean and ice were meeting in a frontier of rage, as if the Earth had torn in two along this line. This was a place if there ever was a place, where you could disappear.
The year is 1845 and young researcher Eliot Saxby is paid to go on an expedition to the Arctic in the hope of finding remains of the by now extinct Great Auk. He joins a regular hunting ship, but the crew and the passengers are not what they seem. Caught in the web of relationships on board, Eliot struggles to understand the motivations of the sociopathic, embroidery-loving Captain Sykes, the silent First Mate French, the flamboyant laudanum-addicted Bletchley and, most importantly of all, Bletchley’s beautiful but strange ‘cousin’ Clara. As the ship moves further and further into the wilds of the Arctic sea, Eliot clings to what he believes in, desperate to save Clara but drawn irrevocably back into the past that haunts him.
The first historical novel from an author who has been critically acclaimed for his two contemporary novels (Salt and The Wake), The Collector of Lost Things is a compulsive, beautifully written read.
About the Author
Jeremy Page grew up in North Norfolk and has worked as a script editor and writer for FilmFour and the BBC, in addition to teaching on the Creative Writing MA at UEA. He lives in London with his wife and three children. He has published two previous novels Salt and The Wake.
A freezing tale about a veritable ship of fools on Arctic waters, of passion and cold comfort, and “mankind’s failure to be anything other than a beast of greed and profit.” One of the true literary highlights of the year.
The author has a very good perception of the natural world and describes the abundant life and physical drama of the Arctic with a crystal clear beauty. A lot of the power of the book comes from a juxtaposition of 21st century sensibilities with 19th century brutality towards wild animals.