Fast Paradise by Eric Stephen Mayer

“A fascinating novel that provocatively animates the tendrils that connect past and present . . . mesmerizing . . . dramatically engaging as it is philosophically thoughtful . . . The author’s command of the geography of the Arctic, and the indigenous peoples who inhabit it, is masterly.”
—Kirkus Reviews

Two summer treks across the High Arctic separated by a millennium.

The first: Qaya, a young Inuit girl in the year 1000, making her coming of age journey to hunt the great polar bear, Nannuraluk.

The second: 1963 college archaeology students on a dig 500 miles from the North Pole with their professor, hoping to uncover and preserve lost secrets of early Inuit and their encounters with Norse explorers.
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The Beaver
Cover of Fast Paradise

What changed when Qaya spoke her words?

What changed was like some slightest movement in the stars from one day to the next,
where now but not before,
in just that place, and just that height above the land,
announce the seasons turn where just before said nothing.
Changed nor chance of going back,
however small a thing or few eyes notice.
What changed was like the wind, ikulliaktuq however calm:
where not one single flower petal nor more or less disturbed,
nor cotton grass the more to bend;
announces with the slightest shift to south or else to north
some consequence beyond men’s reach.
Nor see at all nor feel beyond some tiny hairs upon an ear,
whose good fortune wears no parka hood just then.

Eric Mayer