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The Surfacing

Cormac James

The Surfacing by Cormac James

The Surfacing is set largely on board a ship in the 1850s, searching for Franklin's lost expedition. It's a challenging and dangerous endeavour in a very male world – that is until Morgan, the second-in-command of the Impetus, realises there is a pregnant stowaway on board and that he is the father. It is too late to turn back, the ice is closing in, the child will have to be born into the vast and icy wilderness of the Arctic.

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781908737984
Publication Date: 25/09/2014

Formats Available:
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Print Status: Not Available

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Cormac James
Cormac James was born in Cork, Ireland. A graduate of the UEA Creative Writing MA, he has published short fiction in Columbia, Phoenix Irish Short Stories, and The Dublin Review...


‘ An austere pleasure to read.’

The Guardian

‘An engrossing, well-researched read.’

The Irish Independent

‘The cool precision of James's writing draws you on as surely as if you're there, trapped in that claustrophobic interior with the vast northern landscape stretching forever outside. Plenty of bitchy, scrappy dialogue particularly between Kitty and Morgan adds a blackly comic note, but James's overarching storyline is measured, stately, assured.’

The Irish Times

‘Cormac James' writing is very assured, with a harsh poetic edge. His evocations of barren landscape, sea weather, pack ice and frozen skies are powerful and compelling.’

Rose Tremain, Music and Silence

The great topic of Cormac James’ The Surfacing is the reach of human possibility. The prose is calm, vivid, hypnotic and acutely piercing. James is attuned to the psychological moment: this is a book about fatherhood and all its attendant terrors. James recognises the surfacing of love in the face of solitude. It’s a remarkable achievement, a stylish novel, full of music and quiet control. This is a writer that I’d like to see hurry - I’m looking forward already to the next book.’

Colum McCann, Transatlantic

‘An extraordinary novel, combining a powerful narrative with a considered and poetic use of language in a way that is not often seen these days. Reading the book, I recalled the dramatic natural landscape of Jack London and the wild untamed seas of William Golding. Cormac James’ writing is ambitious enough to be compared with either. ’

John Boyne, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

On The Blog

The Guardian Reviews "The Surfacing" by Cormac James

The last expedition of Sir John Franklin has been lost for over 160 years, but the search continues. A Canadian team this summer found the hull of one of Franklin’s...