Praise for Minds of Winter

The Sunday Times
In from the cold: A tale of polar expedition turns out to be unexpectedly heart-warming
“In both concept and execution the novel is a serious piece of work at once vastly entertaining and ambitious on a scale that leaves much of contemporary Irish fiction looking woefully insubstantial….there will be few better historical novels published this year.”

The Irish Times
A novel wondrous in tone and reach
Minds of Winter is a big, complex book. Multiple stories are told in different voices and in different eras. Research is gathered and sifted. The voyages of the lost are without end and do not lend themselves to straightforward narrative. The pack-ice shifts above unknowable depths. O’Loughlin has worked the essential harmonics and set the whole structure echoing. The final pages seem inevitable, as great endings must; the whole novel wondrous in its tone and reach. The title is from Wallace Stevens’s poem The Snow Man, where we’re asked to behold “Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is”. It takes a good writer to take that on. It takes a great one to succeed.”

The Sunday Business Post
Reimagining the fate of a doomed Arctic expedition
“With each novel, O’Loughlin is expanding his interests and his imaginative grasp – the first sign of a genuinely talented writer. He is rapidly becoming one of the most interesting novelists currently at work.

The Australian
Ed O’Loughlin’s Minds of Winter: polar exploration’s allure examined
“The writing is stupendously good, crisply lyrical without ever becoming absorbed by its own density. In his description, O’Loughlin stretches the imagination in terms of both the scenery and the words that describe it.”

Gavin Francis, author
“An enthralling series of interlocking mysteries;  masterfully evokes the beauty of polar regions.”

The Arctic Book Review
“Ed O’Loughlin’s Minds of Winter … may well be the Franklin novel to end all Franklin novels. Never have so many different narrative threads been taken up and twined together.. It would seem a daunting task to connect so many historical figures in a single volume, something like trapping demons in a cursed box, but the talisman that O’Loughlin employs is deceptively modest: a single marine chronometer, Arnold 294, which showed up intact at a 2009 auction in the UK when it was supposed to have been issued to Franklin’s ships 164 years previously.” 

The Sydney Morning Herald
Minds of Winter review: Ed O’Loughlin’s expedition into polar mysteries

“Ed O’Loughlin’s Minds of Winter embarks on an expedition into some of the enduring mysteries of polar exploration. A contemporary framing narrative sees two wanderers, Fay Morgan and Nelson Nilsson, meet in the frozen wilds of Canada, at remote Inuvik, well within the Arctic Circle. Each has a connection to enigmas of the ice, and the novel opens out into a slew of historical figures: Sir John Franklin, whose 1845 voyage to traverse the Northwest Passage ended in the loss of all hands (some likely to cannibalism); his tenacious wife, determined to discover his fate; Roald Amundsen, whose plane vanished in 1928 on a rescue mission; even “The Mad Trapper of Rat River”, a Canadian fugitive who prompted a large-scale polar manhunt. Easy for the reader to get lost in the author’s narrative labyrinth, but that’s part of this grand and ambitious book’s pleasure, too.”

The Sunday Independent
Polar epic sings with intrigue and beauty

“Time, geography, motivations and truths – this is the basic periodic table of elements to those reporting from overseas. Should it be any surprise then that Minds of Winter (his third novel proper after the Booker-longlisted Not Untrue & Not Unkind, and Toploader), should soar so confidently, whisking the reader as it does around the world and through a few centuries in pursuit of an echoing tale of the ages?”

Full Reviews

In from the cold: A tale of polar exploration turns out to be unexpectedly heart-warming
The Sunday Times Culture Magazine, 14th August 2016

Reimagining the fate of a doomed Arctic expeditionReviewed by Kevin Power
The Sunday Business Post,  21st August 2016

A novel wondrous in tone and reach
Reviewed by Eoin MacNamee, The Irish Times, 27th August 2016

Polar exploration’s allure examined
The Australian, 27th August 2016

© Ed O’Loughlin – Writer and Journalist