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LitStaff Picks: Setting with Real Character
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LitStaff Picks: Setting with Real Character

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 […]

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.

Jan Newman:
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.

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10 responses to “LitStaff Picks: Setting with Real Character”

  1. maura1217@gmail.com' Maura Lynch says:

    Oh, Tee, I adore this book (and you for choosing it!). Great choice, marvelous description!

  2. maura1217@gmail.com' Maura Lynch says:

    Lisa, You are so right to choose Herriott! Great piece of writing (love the last sentence)!

  3. janridernew@gmail.com' Jan Rider Newman says:

    I like how varied these wonderful choices are.

  4. pj@geniusboston.com' Pj Schott says:

    Setting is so important.

  5. ACrezo says:

    There's a lot of variety this week. I love these staff picks so much.

  6. jenmessner@gmail.com' Jennifer says:

    these are awesome selections- Holes was a delightful surprise- but so right-on!

  7. earanetaralom@gmail.com' arcticwren says:

    A fantastic book, and fantastic choice.

  8. eplna@aol.com' Lisa Emig says:

    I forgot about Smilla's Sense of Snow and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

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