Thursday, November 8, 2007

Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida

In Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, Vendela Vida presents a beautiful and touching story of a woman’s search for the truth about her family and her own identity. The story begins with Clarissa’s father’s death. As she’s going through his things, she discovers that his name is not on her birth certificate; he’s not her biological father. She’s very angry and in a state of shock when she embarks on a quest to Lapland in search of her roots.

While this wasn’t my favourite book, I did enjoy reading it. It was easy to read, interesting and straight to the point. The author doesn’t bother with any tangents not related to the story. Every event in the book directly relates to the plot. This makes it easy to follow and quick to read.

I wasn’t particularly fond of the main characters. I found them too angry and distant to like. I did, however, like Anna Kristine, the healer whom Clarissa encounters on her journey. The story line was unique and kept me interested until the end. I really wanted to know how it all turned out for Clarissa.

The author intersperses lots of interesting information about the Sami (otherwise known as Laplanders, indigenous people of northern Europe) and their lifestyle within the plot of the book. I remember learning about Laplanders in school at one point, but I don’t remember them being called Sami. The information was fascinating and I will probably read more about them.

I really appreciated the map at the beginning. I had a vague idea were Lapland was, but not the specifics. It was nice to be able to refer to it on Clarissa’s journey.

Overall, it’s a really good book. I’d recommend it.

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