Peter Geye is back with the third installment of the Eide family story, Northernmost. Like the first in the series, Lighthouse Road, Northernmost alternates between two generations. In 1897, Odd Einar Eide returns home from a harrowing near-death seal hunting expedition in the Arctic to his own funeral. He’s been missing and presumed dead. His wife, Inger, has gone to work in the home of a wealthy benefactor in order to survive. Their precarious financial situation has become nearly untenable in his absence and it will take time to rebuild his fishing business and his relationship with his wife which has become strained since their only daughter, Thea, sailed to America two years prior. Odd and Inger have heard nothing from Thea and are uncertain about her fate.
In alternating chapters, Geye tells the 2017 story of Greta Nansen, who has finally given up on her marriage. She leaves her two children with her father to travel to Oslo where her husband is working to end the marriage, but on an impulse travels to Hammerfest instead, the town of her ancestors. Once there, she meets and falls in love with Stig Hjalmarson, a musician, who introduces her to an old text, the story of Odd Einar and his Arctic expedition.
Northernmost is an expedition of heart and soul across continents and generations. With crystalline prose, Peter Geye chronicles Odd Einar’s gnawing hunger and piercing numbness as he traverses the Arctic alone while being stalked by an injured ice bear. Meanwhile, over a century later, Odd’s descendent Greta is navigating a lonely and icy existence in a loveless marriage until she discovers inspiration and courage from Odd’s story and takes a second chance at love.
Geye is a master storyteller who weaves together the threads of multiple generations into whole cloth. Northernmost is his best yet and will be available April 14, but you can pre-order it now from your favorite bookseller. Listen to my interview with Peter on Superior Reads on April 23 at 7:00 pm on WTIP 90.7 Grand Marais or on the web at https://www.wtip.org/superior-reads-0