Lines: The cold earth slept below
She is the definition of high maintenance. Her only contribution to the work is that she is a good cook, able to concoct something relatively palatable out of the unsavoury ingredients Yianni has provided. And she is sensitive to the ghosts that are abroad, possibly ghosts of the last Greenlanders, though at first these seem to be all in her head.
And then there is Ruth, whose manicure is always perfect she is American, natch. Ruth is practical and cryptic and insensitive to the revenant Greenlanders because she has brought a horrifying ghost of her own from home. Catriona, the Scottish girl, is the helpful one, much to her own disadvantage.
Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves | Waterstones
The young men are less well developed and more enigmatic - Jim, the American, is a nice guy and a reader of the Bible, while Ben is hardly visible at all. Given where they are, visions of the apocalypse are all too reasonable: while Norse Greenlanders visited the western hemisphere, sometimes staying for long periods, and there are stories of Greenlandic boats heading back to Greenland and being carried by storms to the west coast of Ireland, the Norsemen disappeared, leaving behind, because of permafrost, a wonderful but melancholy archeological record of themselves in the Danish National Museum you can get down on your knees and peek under the hems of the hand-sewn gowns, and see the stitches the seamstresses made years ago.
The problem the young visitors all share is that in the course of their summer of isolation, they come to realise that "the virus" back home wherever home may be has turned out to be much more infectious and virulent than anyone had realised. When the websites they try to connect with on Yianni's computer begin failing to respond, the six archaeologists must deal with the increasingly likely possibility that they have become as isolated as the medieval Greenlanders were at the end of the 14th century, after the black death.
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Moss is such a master at evoking the suspense of both the dread and the anticipation of this situation that readers will be tempted to turn to the end of the book to relieve anxieties. Try to control yourself, if only for the sake of appreciating her technique.
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Each of her characters adapts to the situation idiosyncratically, and part of Moss's gift is to win empathy for their quirky survival strategies. It's clear by the end that the crisis has not brought them any closer to each other, but for the reader, Moss's empathy is a rich treat.
And only pages!
Were I her editor, I would have encouraged her to write a few more to clarify her denouement, to allow Ben to have a bit more say and to give Ruth a more graceful exit. The story was relatively interesting, the dialog was okay the parts I could hear that is, the acting was a question of some actors being better than others and some that must do everything they can not to give up their day jobs. As far as recommendations go I'd say steer clear of this one, its not the worst movie ever made but you can a hundred times better than this.
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