‘East’ is enchanting and unforgettable

Cover art © 2003 Fantastic Fiction

Those long, cold nights of winter are just around the corner. Yes, it’s time for hot chocolate, fleece blankets, a fireplace, and a good book. While the wind is blowing outside and the snow is falling, I can be found on my living room floor, curled up next to the furnace vent, reading my all time favorite.

“East” by Edith Pattou is one book that cannot be set down and forgotten about. Usually, I am not a fan of wizardry, magic, and fairy tales, but this book is my exception. A talking polar bear; trolls; a land called Huldre; dresses made of gold, silver, and moonlight; drunken sea captains; and a young girl on an amazing journey all capture your attention and keep it.

The story starts out with a family: a doting father, a superstitious mother, and eight children. The youngest girl, Rose, is always getting into trouble, from tumbling off waterfalls, and disappearing for hours on end, to falling into creeks, and stumbling into a grouchy old widow’s storage shed that held an old loom.

After Rose’s birth, the family falls into poverty and one of the older daughters becomes deathly ill. One could argue that it is just coincidence, while another could argue that it was because of the mysterious lie surrounding Rose’s birth.

Eventually, the talking polar bear appears on a stormy night, takes Rose, and keeps her locked away in a hidden castle. While Rose is in the castle, we learn more about a mysterious visitor in the night and the possibility of a curse. A mishap leads to a strange blonde man being taken from the castle. Thus, Rose sets off on her lengthy journey. On her journey she encounters an old Viking, Knorr, a terrible storm, an Inuit tribe, and an ice palace ruled by a beautiful troll queen.

The plot of the story is not the only thing that captures your attention. The author throws in numerous small details that seem insignificant at the time, but make a world of sense later on in the story.

Her writing style in this book is unique. Each chapter is a different viewpoint from one of the characters: Father, Neddy, Rose, White Bear, and Troll Queen. The tale twists, turns and then twists back around, never allowing your attention to wander. One of the best things about this book is that it keeps you on your toes.

The characters in this book are fantastic. It is so well written that you can practically feel what the characters are feeling. You also can’t help but fall in love with the characters, and as the book goes on, you get more involved in their life stories.

Not only is the plot fantastic and the characters intriguing, but the book also gets you to think about the mistakes you’ve made in your life, and how far you would go to fix those mistakes. Rose made a mistake and she risked her life to fix it. It inspires you to challenge every barrier that might stop you from improving your life.

“East” is a fascinating and powerful novel.

I recommend this book to anyone, no matter what their interests are. There is something in this book for everyone.


Comments are closed.

Recent Off the Shelf Articles

‘Generation Dead’ revives a dying genre

Nov. 13, 2013

I’ve noticed over the years that zombie movies and books are all the same. Luckily, even with the same cliché lines, typical zombie behavior, and an easy-to-guess plot, I have yet to become bored with them.

Vampire stories still have bite

Sep. 19, 2012

Vampire stories, it seems, are a clichéd concept that are over-used and boring – not to mention predictable. I try to avoid some vampire books for a fear that I will fall into another story about a sparkling vampire, a love-struck girl, and some mythical creature that is in love with her.

‘The Know-It-All’ quests to learn it all

Mar. 28, 2012

Everyone likes a good mountain. Climbing one and then writing about it makes pretty good non-fiction, too. Author and self-professed smart guy, A.J. Jacobs, needed a harrowing task for his next book—so he set himself a mountain.

Life’s worth living ‘Among the Lutherans’

Feb. 22, 2012

Despite its title, Garrison Keillor’s “Life among the Lutherans” is not about religion (either as a screed or preaching) but rather the ways of the Lutherans and their world in the fictional little town of Lake Wobegon, whether it be the trials of Pastor Inqvist, the amusement of the dysfunctional marriage of Clint and Irene Bunsen, or even the funny songs about just being Lutheran. When comparing Lutherans with Episcopalians, one song goes “Henry VIII would marry a woman, And then her head would drop. J. S. Bach had [23] kids, ‘Cause his organ had no stop!”

‘Lover’s dictionary’: redefines relationships

Feb. 1, 2012

Boy wins girl. Boy loses girl. Boy wins girl back. As Hollywood continues to prove, there are only so many ways to tell a love story. David Levithan mixes things up in his 2011 book “The Lover’s Dictionary,” which is actually clever if you can forgive him for the cheesy title.