Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida

Another one from the Morning News Tourney of Books, Vendela Vida’s Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, was quite good. It won Match Two of Round One, and is moving on to challenge Tree of Smoke. Vida is married to Dave Eggers, though this is not detailed in the backflap bio or in her acks.

Clarissa is 28 when her father dies, and a quick search of his desk yields surprising and unpleasant news. Given that her mother disappeared when she was 14, Clarissa has already experienced life at the short end of the stick. Slipping into girl-detective mode, she decides to travel to Lapland, the region of Europe that includes the northern tips of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. Painful truths about who she is arrive thick and fast on her journey. In the end, she incorporates them into choices that are both redemptive and unexpected.

The grieving, bewildered Clarissa is easy to like, as are the handful of characters she encounters on her odyssey. At times, this read like a young adult novel to me; Clarissa’s age of 28 didn’t ring true. She seemed more like 20, in speech, action, and emotion. But the fast-moving tale swept me along, and fascinated me both with details about Lapland and the indigenous Sami people, as well as with Clarissa’s absorption of the newly updated facts of her self.

2 Responses to “Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida”

  1. Framed Says:

    My son spent two years in Sweden so I would love to read a book set in that part of the world. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention.

  2. H. Streets Says:

    After this book, we can say that David Eggers is her husband.