Though third in a series about the Eide family by Minnesota native Peter Geye, Northernmost is a standalone literary yet action-packed novel that weaves together two stories, separated by a century.
In the 1890s, Odd Einar Eide walks in on his own funeral, after having been presumed dead following a seal hunting expedition to the Arctic Circle after he did not return when expected. As it turns out, he survived insurmountable odds to find his way back home, including an encounter with a polar bear. A writer pays him to have him narrate his adventure, which is then turned into a book. In the meantime, Odd and his wife learn to reconnect and to make peace with the decision to send their daughter, Thea, to Minnesota, though they haven’t had word from her in years.
A century later, Greta, Odd’s great-great granddaughter, lives in Minnesota and is having marital troubles. She follows her husband, also a Norwegian descendant, while he’s on a business trip to Oslo, only to take a last-minute trip to Hammerfest, the remote Norwegian town of her ancestors. It is there that she meets a man that will change her life and her understanding of her past.
Northernmost is at once an adventure story, a love story, and a dissolution of love story. Other books featuring the Eide family include The Lighthouse Road and Wintering. Though the storytelling is evocative, transporting the reader to the harsh Norwegian landscape, it is not a traditional novel likely to make a list of popular bestsellers. Rather, it is a tale waiting to be discovered for readers who appreciate quiet literary gems.