Far North by Marcel Theroux
Published: 5 March 2009 by Faber and Faber
Pages: 304 (paperback)
Source: Own library
Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository
Out on the far northern border of a failed state, Makepeace patrols the ruins of a dying city and tries to keep its unruly inhabitants in check. Into this isolated world comes evidence that life is flourishing elsewhere - a refugee from the vast emptiness of forest, whose existence inspires Makepeace to take the road to connect with human society.
Let me start by saying it took me 11 days to read this book. 300 pages over 11 days is, what, 27-odd pages a day which is VERY unusual for me. I do confess that I was in something of a reading slump when I started this, so please take what I say with a pinch of salt!
Far North was on my wishlist for about two years when it came up as a Group Read for a group on Goodreads that I belong to. It was the perfect excuse to finally buy it and I was really looking forward to it – post-apocalyptic, a solitary character who decides to reconnect with the remnants of humanity and set in harsh landscape. Should have been my cup of tea.
This book is beautifully written in a bleak, harsh and short way, full of twists that I didn’t see coming, and gradually reveals its secrets at the right parts of the story.
Without giving away too many twists and secrets, I just found this book a pretty hard slog – I didn’t find the character of Makepeace interesting in the least, the secondary characters seemed two-dimensional with little substance to even make me curious about them and found the ending unsatisfactory apart from the fact that it meant I was finally finished.
As I said at the beginning, perhaps I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for this book. Of course that does not make it a bad book, and as one friend said ‘it’s written like a western’ (thanks Alison!), which is spot-on – so if that type of writing appeals to you, then you should just ignore me and try it for yourself.