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Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name: A Novelby Vendela Vida
Let me say first that I read this book because of the title. Much like buying a book for its cover, I was drawn in by the possibility that this poetic directive would yield a satisfying story. I was not disappointed; there's a lot to appreciate here. Vida's style is spare, but graceful and evocative, almost cinematic. The narrator is a wry observer of herself who often does exactly what she ought not do. The sometimes surreal depictions of Lapland lend the story the feel of a fairy tale — a grim, dark, snowy fairy tale. It's a beautiful, haunting story.
Vendela Vida's writing surprised me. I hadn't read anything by her before, and though her earlier books have garnered blurbs from writers I admire, being married to Dave Eggers is not a plus in my opinion. That said, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name was a moving story. After her dad's sudden death, twenty-eight-year-old Clarissa is faced with the shocking news that he wasn't really her biological father. That topped with the fact that she was abadoned by her mother at the age of fourteen, sets her off on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Lapland in search of herself and her roots. Of course, things don't unfold as she expects, and the impractical trip turns occasionally ridiculous. Though important insights and information fall into Clarissa's lap rather easily, I still enjoyed Vida's writing and her character's determination to find out where she came from and why her mother left, and the ending was a fitting way to wrap up the story without seeming trite.
Synopses & Reviews
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 her fiancé has just revealed a life-changing secret to her. Alone and adrift, Clarissa travels to mystical Lapland, where she believes she'll meet her real father. There, at a hotel made of ice, Clarissa is confronted with the truth about her mother's history, and must make a decision about how—and where—to live the rest of her life.
Raised by her father after the disappearance of her mother, twenty-eight-year-old Clarissa discovers upon her father's death that he had not been her father at all, a finding that drives her to leave her fianc
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