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October 2021 Canadian Fiction

Landmark Edition
By (author): Thomas Wharton



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


Oct 15, 2021
$23.95 CAD


8.5in x 5.5 x 0 in | 1 lb

Page Count:

336 pages
NeWest Press
FICTION / Historical / General
Historical fiction|Narrative theme: Environmental issues|Fiction: general and literary
Best First Book, Commonwealth Writers Prize, Canada and Caribbean Division 1995, Winner Banff Mountain Book Festival Grand Prize 1995, Winner Writers Guild of Alberta's Best First Book Award 1995, Winner

In 1898, Doctor Edward Byrne slips on the ice of the Arcturus glacier in the Canadian Rockies and slides into a crevasse, wedged upside down nearly sixty feet below the surface. As he fights losing consciousness, a stray beam of sunlight illuminates the ice in front of him and Byrne sees something in the blue-green radiance that will forever link him to the ancient glacier. In this moment, his life's purpose becomes uncovering the mystery of the icefield that almost was his tomb. Along the way, he encounters similarly fixated individuals, each immersed in their own quest: the healer and storyteller Sara; the bohemian travel writer Freya Becker; the entrepreneur Trask; the poet Hal Rowan; and Elspeth, greenhouse keeper and Byrne's lover.

First published in 1995, Wharton's Icefields is an astonishing historical novel set in a mesmerizing literary landscape, one that is constantly being altered by the surging and retreating glacier and unpredictable weather. Here--where characters are pulled into deep chasms of ice as well as the stories and histories they tell one another--is a vivid, daring, and crisply written book that reveals the human spirit, loss, myth, and elusive truths.

This updated Landmark Edition includes an author interview with Smaro Kamboureli and an Afterword by award-winning writer Suzette Mayr.

Thomas Wharton's novels, stories, and nonfiction have been published in Canada, the US, the UK, Italy, and other countries. His first novel, Icefields, received the 1996 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book in Canada and the Caribbean. His first collection of fantastical stories, The Logogryph, was shortlisted the International Dublin Literary Award. He has also published a YA fantasy trilogy, The Perilous Realm, and an eco-fiction, Every Blade of Grass. Wharton lives near Edmonton, Alberta and teaches creative writing.

Praise for Icefields:

"...careful dialogue, a steady pace and cool, subtle prose.... through a skillful juxtaposition of scientific observations, dialogue and journal entries and letters, fact is successfully merged with fantasy.... a well-told tale is definitely worth the pursuit, as both the doctor and Mr. Wharton's readers will discover."
~ Pamela Stock, New York Times Book Review

"Icefields is a novel of crystalline beauty from a writer to watch."
~ Ronald Wright, Times Literary Supplement

"Ice, when it is touched, can sear the flesh: in Icefields it fires the imagination."
~ Emily Mitchell, People

"Wharton has ably captured the turn-of-the-century feel of rural Canada, complete with boosterism, a Victorian adventuress, and teahouses in the wilderness."
~ Dennis Drabelle, Washington Post Book World

"Wharton is an original writer and Icefields is an original novel."
~ Mark Giles, Calgary Herald

"Ironic, brilliant, and unforgettable."
~ Peter Simpson, Telegraph-Journal

"[Wharton] is stalking what, for a young writer, is rarefied game indeed: the playful ways in which people's private mythologies just barely intersect, if at all."
~ Michael Harris, Los Angeles Times

"Wharton reminds us again that, though we should attempt to look at nature on its own terms, we must do it in a human, loving way."
~ Alexander Rettie, Alberta Views

"...an astonishing first novel, for it's scope, structural integrity, consistent beauty, and language."
~ Jill Robinson, Edmonton Journal

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