by Tom Stewart
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Pub Date 07 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 15 Nov 2022
He's known as the "trapper", and his family has a long history in these isolated woods. Now it's just him and the boy, and he'll raise him in the world he knows, the forest, where threats take recognizable forms: harsh weather, peak predators, the encroachment of civilization at odds with their lifestyle. But, for those lands and minds with an unsettled past, other dangers may lurk the woods where father and son hunt the timber. One fateful day, their woodland life is violently broken; shouldn't those guilty of such injustice be held to account? Though at times gritty even violent, there is raw grace in these pages like veins of gold running through black quartz.
A tale told in captivating prose of wild living, where human skin is no boundary for either the beauty or cruelty of nature. A book studded with reflective wonder, wholly a story of the profound bonds of human love. The big woods of the far north in all its naked majesty become an arena for the dueling forces of life: joy and suffering, good and evil, compassion and vengeance. Though the forest is isolated, this may be a story of the wilderness existing within us all. A story that won't easily be forgotten as there is something enduring here. Immortal North.
"Less than 10% of my ratings are Five Stars, I liked this one a lot. Another reviewer said that this book will gut you, tear you apart. I can agree, writer Tom Stewart provided a foundation upon which he erected a monument to a natural life. It is as quiet as snow falling in a forest. Until it is not and then it is a cacophony of violence and sorrow. This beautifully written book features discussions and explorations on philosophy, theology and psychology, all in the context of the cabin in the woods and a life chosen to be free of all but nature’s rules. ★★★★★ My Goodreads friends know how grudging I am with high marks, this one deserves it. I’d like to read more from this author." -Lyn Graves. 4400 Goodreads friends, 1900 novels reviewed.
Readers' Favorite "Very highly recommended." ★★★★★ -Reviewed by Jamie Michele
“This is not merely a story; it is a journey into the meaning of life and the limits of the human spirit. Immortal North is an amazing and powerful novel that will have you hooked from the first page. An absolute must-read. ★★★★★ ” —Laura Patterson, Goodreads
“I’ll be thinking about Immortal North for a long time. Some of the passages are just so exquisitely written. A lot of emotion and setting the scene—it was just so vivid. Excellent read.” ★★★★★ ” —Kelli Buttars, BookSirens
Average rating from 14 members
I just finished Tom Stewart's novel "Immortal North" and if I could rate it 10 stars or higher, I would. The writing is spectacular; it is contemplative, thoughtful, and really reveals the mind of the trapper, who is never named in the story. The Trapper's family, for several generations, owned and operated a hunting lodge in the far north until they lost it when a family member gambled it away in a card game. They were left with just their own cabin that was their home and, having no choice, continued to act as guides for the hunters that arrived each season. When his parents died in a plane crash, the Trapper was raised by his grandparents whom he loved dearly. Now, in the present time, the Trapper has just lost his wife and is raising their young son alone. As the little boy grows, the Trapper teaches him everything he knows about the forest, the seasons, the animals, how to hunt, and builds in him a reverence for life. Once a year the two of them travel into the nearest town where a local schoolteacher has saved age-appropriate textbooks to give the Trapper so that he can homeschool his son, who is also left unnamed.
Suddenly, about half way through the novel, everything changes. I won't tell you what or why, because that would spoil the story, but suffice it to say, the large questions that the Trapper and his son have contemplated throughout their lives continue, but with a radically different thrust.
I will never forget this tale as long as I live. It resonates with me that much.
IMMORTAL NORTH-Tom Stewart
Trapper and Son,living in the harsh forest of North Canada,inheritors of a lifestyle of their ancestors . Isolation, survivalism, , a life far removed from the modern world without cell phones, television , and other conveniences we take for granted.
Vivid and haunting descriptions of nature and winter, both brutal and beautiful. Detailed description of bow hunting, and his justification for hunting,and the art and skill involved. At its core a love story between father and son,torn apart by a surprising turn of events.At times overwritten for my tastes, but a great read.
By Tom Stewart
This is a difficult book to read. It deals with love and loss and how one handles tragedies. It is about taking responsibility for one's actions and paying the price for bad decisions. It is about seeking revenge for wrongs done.
The Trapper and the boy (father and son) live a subsistence life in the north country, hunting, trapping and fishing, and trading for the necessities needed to survive. They are even devoid of names. But the Trapper is determined to raise his son in the way his dead wife would have wanted. He tries to impart the skills his son will need to survive whatever life has in store. He is a stern but loving father.
Into their wilderness habitat come Dave and Jacob, a pair of hapless men who are trying to revive a hunting camp in the area. The culture clash is inevitable.
Add to all this an ambiguous ending and this should have been a book I would put down well before the end – but I couldn't. The story held me captive until the very end. Through all the sadness, it still imparts life lessons and is well worth the read.
I’d been reading two writers I consider masters of beautiful sentences, William Gay and William Faulkner, and along came this novel unexpectedly to match them. Tom Stewart is a very good writer. His acrobatic sentences, generally unhindered by punctuation, contain some of the best words and most heartfelt, perfectly spoken sentiments I’ve read. The novel's passages about the Trapper meeting and loving his wife then her devastating death (not giving anything away there, since her death is clear from the beginning), how much he felt for her and still pines for her, blew me away. I admit, although the Trapper would probably disapprove, I shed more than one tear. And every other part of this story is perfectly rendered and exquisitely affecting as well, with so much to love: the Trapper’s tender love for and connection with his boy made me have to give mine a big long hug; his ruminations—at the very heart of this story—on God, existence, and the nature of man were tremendously thought-provoking (will linger with me for a long time); and his descriptions of hunting and tracking animals were for me, never a hunter myself, an eye-opening experience making me feel closer to my brothers who are. I’ll look for more great work from Stewart.
What a poignant and beautifully written book. It wasn't always an easy read, but the naturalist in me loved the detail the author used to describe the most minute of settings. I highly recommend it to other outdoors lovers.
This novel is pure magic. The author Tom Stewart has 'penned' a beautiful brilliant novel … well written and an incredible story. The novel encompasses love and growth, pain and loss, and finally death and revenge. It is impossible to put down as you travel along with an unnamed trapper and his young son. As the novel unfolds you realise the power of the heartbreaking story that will not leave you after reading the last page. Tom Stewart has an incredible knowledge of living, hunting and survival in the wilderness that has been cleverly combined with an understanding of the meaning of life. Immortal North deserve high accolades and it is highly recommended to all readers and more than worthy of five stars.
This book will be with you for a long time after you finish it and set it aside. It is that well-written. The story is amazing, and the writing is top-notch.
The trapper (we never learn his name) and his son live in a small cabin in the remote woods. Long ago, his family used to own a large hunting lodge nearby, but his grandfather lost it in a gambling game. The trapper and his son live alone after the death of his wife, the boy’s mother. He is raising the boy and teaching him how to live off the land. They hunt together and the boy is fast picking up knowledge of outdoor skills. One day, the man is injured by a bear and the boy must take over the hunting duties himself. He gradually learns how to do it and becomes very skilled. Then, tragedy strikes the little family.
I loved the elements of survival living that the author depicted so well. This accurate knowledge can only come from experience and the author has that. The scenes were described in such a detailed way that only personal experience can bring. The author has lived these skills and shows the reader in many ways. I was enthralled from the very beginning and could not stop reading. Even the animal tracking was correctly described, which is something I always look for. I am a professional tracker myself and these parts of the story were accurate, which is refreshing to see as many authors get it wrong.
The scenes are described with such flowing language and subtle phrasing that they come to life for the reader. The interactions among people are done in a sort of freeform, stream of consciousness technique that works perfectly for this setting. You follow along with every thought the trapper has and you feel what he is feeling in that moment. It really brought the character to life for me. The other men in the story are depicted with a more traditional dialog approach, which is more fitting for their lifestyle and for-profit presence in the woods. The two different styles help the reader understand the motivations of the characters.
The themes of love and loss, redemption and revenge run deep in the story. From the beginning with the loss of his wife, and the loss of the hunting lodge property, you see that the trapper has lived a life full of trauma, but also love. His son is his whole life. What happens when his life is changed in an instant is the stuff of legend.
I highly recommend this book. I’d give it six stars if I could. It will be one of those books that will linger in your mind long after you finish reading it. You will not be disappointed.
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