- Fizzy Thoughts: The Sunday Salon: lotsa Lapland (and rewards)

The Sunday Salon: lotsa Lapland (and rewards)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Last Sunday I had just started reading The Palace of the Snow Queen. And while initially I found it quite interesting, it started to lag around the halfway point. So this week I took a break from it and read The Sugar Queen and Nice to Come Home To. Then I returned to Lapland with a different book, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name.

Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name
Vendela Vida
January 2007
226 pages

Publisher Comments (from Powells.com):

On the day of her father's funeral, twenty-eight-year-old Clarissa Iverton discovers that he wasn't her biological father after all. Her mother disappeared fourteen years earlier, and now Clarissa is alone and adrift. The one person she feels she can trust, her fiancé , Pankaj, has just revealed a terrible and life-changing secret to her. In the cycle of a day, all the truths in Clarissa's world become myths and rumors, and she is catapulted out of the life she knew.

She finds her birth certificate, which leads her from New York to Helsinki, and then north of the Arctic Circle, to mystical Lapland, where she believes she'll meet her real father. There, under the northern lights of a sunless winter, Clarissa comes to know the Sami, the indigenous population, and seeks out a local priest, the one man who may hold the key to her origins. Along her travels she meets an elderly Sami healer named Anna Kristine, who has her own secrets, and a handsome young reindeer herder named Henrik, who accompanies Clarissa to a hotel made of ice. There she is confronted with the truth about her mother's past and finally must make a decision about how — and where — to live the rest of her life.

The end was interesting. It brings into question whether it's okay to abandon your past for the sake of your future...and whether the decision is still okay if you are affecting the lives of others. Clarissa does not like the choices her mother made, yet she does something similar at the end of the book. Her justification is both similar and different, and gives the reader something to chew on.

This book ended up being a great companion to The Palace of the Snow Queen. After reading about the Icehotel, and Kiruna, and the Sami, it was interesting to see them show up in this novel. It helped to give the book a bit more context. So today, I picked The Palace of the Snow Queen back up and finished it.

The Palace of the Snow Queen
Barbara Sjoholm
2007
311 pages

Publisher Comments (again, from Powells.com):
Barbara Sjoholm's moving travel narrative takes readers on a personal journey through the icy landscape of Lapland.


A frequent traveler to Northern Europe, Barbara Sjoholm set off one winter to explore a region that had long intrigued her. Sjoholm first travels to Kiruna, Sweden, to see the Ice Hotel under construction and to meet the ice artists who make its rooms into environmental art. Traveling to the North Cape, she encounters increasing darkness and cold, but also radiant light over the mountains and snow fields. She crosses the Finnmark Plateau by dogsled, attends a Sami film festival (with an outdoor ice screen), and visits Santa's Post Office in Finland.

Over the course of three winters, Sjoholm unearths the region's rich history, including the culture of the Sami. As Sjoholm becomes more familiar with Kiruna, she writes of the changes occurring in northern Scandinavia and contemplates the tensions between tourism, the expansion of mining and development of the Ice Hotel, and age-old patterns of land use, the Sami's struggle to maintain their reindeer grazing lands and migration routes.

In
The Palace of the Snow Queen, Sjoholm relates her adventures in the far north, and considers how ice and snow shape our imaginations and create, at a time of global warming, a vision that increasingly draws visitors to Lapland.

Unfortunately, the second half never really imroved enough to grab me. Sjoholm keeps returning the the Icehotel, and one visit was enough for me. She also continues to explore the struggle over land-use. Although she did discuss a few new things, I felt the second half was primarily a re-hash of the first. Despite that, it was an interesting, although not riveting, read. I would recommend reading the first half as a companion read to Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name.

Moving on...


Because last week was Buy A Friend a Book Week, I have a few books to give away (hey, better late than never, eh?). Pop over here for a chance to score an ARC of The Sugar Queen. If you would like a chance at both Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Palace of the Snow Queen (hey, two books for the low, low price of one!), leave a comment here telling me about another book that deals with Lapland or the Sami, or even Sweden, Norway or Finland (somethimes, you gotta work for these free books). And look! Octavian Nothing is still up for grabs. Poor Octavian.

There's only two catches. I'm off work tomorrow and want to get the trip to the post office out of the way, so you need to comment before I drag my butt out of bed tomorrow and read my email. And US and Canadian readers only. Sorry, I love all of you equally, but the post office doesn't.

3 comment(s):

bethany said...

I want in for these too (sorry to be greedy!! but they sound really good!!!)

The Ice Palace by Peter Owen!!

So far the books you are giving out are incredible...these look so yummy as well :)

happy sunday salon!

bethany said...

oh, I forgot to say that the book for Norway is The Ice Palace by Peter Owen.

Kristinia - Loving Heart Mommy

said...

Haven't read any of these but they sound very interesting! The only book I found about Lapland is: Running With Reindeer: Encounters In Russian Lapland

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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