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The Still Point

Sackville, Amy (2010) The Still Point. Portobello Books, London, 240 pp. ISBN 978-1-84627-229-5. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:40595)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided.


At the turn of the twentieth century, Arctic explorer Edward Mackley sets out to reach the North Pole and vanishes into the icy landscape without a trace. He leaves behind a young wife, Emily, who awaits his return for decades, her dreams and devotion gradually freezing into rigid widowhood. A hundred years later, on a sweltering mid-summer's day, Edward's great-grand-niece Julia moves through the old family house, attempting to impose some order on the clutter of inherited belongings and memories from that ill-fated expedition, and taking care to ignore the deepening cracks within her own marriage. But as afternoon turns into evening, Julia makes a discovery that splinters her long-held image of Edward and Emily's romance, and her husband Simon faces a precipitous choice that will decide the future of their relationship. Sharply observed and deeply engaging, "The Still Point" is a powerful literary debut, and a moving meditation on the distances - geographical and emotional - that can exist between two people.

Item Type: Book
Additional information: Engaging with the historical novel as a genre, this novel questions and unsettles the ways in which narratives are formed – from the grand to the personal. There is a deliberate engagement with modernist precedent, in the book’s formal structure as well as its concerns with language and the relation of words to the world; a multi-layering of the spatial and temporal which acknowledges a debt to Woolf, Forster and Bowen, as well as Eliot (the epigraph from Eliot’s ‘Burnt Norton’ serves as a formal as well as a thematic model). The novel is partially set in the late Victorian period and the omniscient narrative voice borrows from the nineteenth century even as the text as a whole seeks to undermine the notion of ‘fixity’. The use or even possibility of an omniscient narrator has fallen out of fashion as stable models of authority and hegemony have become problematized. The novel explores the possibility of employing that voice so that the collusive, knowing narrator who introduces the text is eventually used to show the impossibility of its own all-knowingness; the past, and also the present, the lives of other people, are as subject to flux and interpretation as the Arctic landscape which provides a counterpoint setting to the family home. ;
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English philology and language
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Stewart Brownrigg
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 00:05 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:15 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Sackville, Amy:
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