Some stories are from Anywhere–the details and the atmosphere matter less than the characters and their trials, which could take place in any point on the map. The setting in these stories isn’t necessarily an afterthought, but it’s relatively unimportant in the scheme of things. Not every book is like this, though; sometimes, the setting is so intrinsic to the story that it seems to be a character all its own. We really love it when that happens. The staff here at LitStack got together over some coffee and donuts (or was it beer and BBQ?) and chose our favorite books that feature character-like setting. Some of our choices are surprising–from suburbia to far-flung planets, click through to read them all.
WHITE HEAT by M. J. McGrath
White Heat, a mystery by M. J. McGrath, is set on Ellesmere Island in the northern extremes of Canada, several degrees above the Arctic Circle. A temperature of -13C is considered balmy. Everything stays frozen most of the year. Blizzards blow up from nowhere. The tundra heaves up its history. Nothing stays buried or hidden. The setting dictates all the action. People can’t even walk fast because they might break a sweat. Sweat freezes in the Arctic. The terrain and climate are treacherous as human nature, secretive as the psyche, bleak as loneliness. But if you know how to ask, Ellesmere Island will tell you everything. And if you respect her, she might be generous and let you live.