Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks

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.

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061844386
List price: $9.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
This short novel, written plainly, economically and well, centers on a young woman’s search for identity. It takes the heroine, Clarissa, to Lapland, where she finds lost bits of her family history.more
I rate this book 5 stars.

I found Vida's style to be sparse and very compelling. I read this novel in one sitting as I didn't want to interrupt the flow. Vida raises big questions about identity, truth, belonging and connections to the past. In her acknowledgements, Vida states it was an essay she read that "made her curious about the kind of person who would see their past as unconnected to their present". This novel was the result of trying to answer that question.more
It was the title that led me to pick up this book in the library. I loved it. With an economy of words the author sets out the story; one of abandonment, identity and survival. There are wonderful vivid sketches of Finland / Lappland and I really felt the cold. However, there are too many major conincidences!more
Light as air, yet compelling.more
This book doesn't really have much to recommend it, except its premise. The main character, Clarissa, learns upon her father's death that he is not her biological father. Her real father is a Sami, the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia. Her mother disappeared when she was twelve as well. Clarissa sets off for Finland to try to find her father and learn more about her mother. As I said, the book doesn't have much to recommend it. The writing is not especially interesting and the plot turns out to be not so interesting either, but the setup was so odd and interesting that I kept reading just to find out what happened.more
I fashion myself a writer. It’s something I wanted to do from the time I was twelve years old. I will admit freely that although I have the desire, I don’t have the skill. I’m okay with that. I wanted to tell you these things because Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name is the novel I wish I could write.The protagonist is Clarissa, a woman in her late twenties, who learns that the man she thought was her father was in fact not. This leads her on a journey to find the truth. The core of this novel is self-discovery. It’s about finding you are not who you think you are, then casting everything you do know aside to search for the truth. This novel was excellent from start to finish. Ms. Vida has a way of engaging the reader. I really felt that I knew Clarissa, knew how she came to her conclusions. This novel made me catch my breath. It gave me that tight feeling in my chest. I finished reading it over a month ago and I can still vividly feel Clarissa’s confusion, her hurt and anger, her feelings of hopelessness and uncertainty. This is the kind of novel that is dictated by the character, not the author. I think in the end Clarissa made the best decision for herself, one she has to live with, the one that will make her happy.I also enjoyed this novel immensely because up until then I never even heard of Lapland or the Sami people. One of my favorite parts of reading is discovering new places. Ms. Vida does a beautiful job of describing this magical land filled with salt of the earth people. I could see the look in Anna Kristine’s dark eyes, I could taste the saltiness of the reindeer meet, feel the chill of the ice hotel. Even as I write this, I want to pick up this novel and read it again. It’s a complex story simply told. And don’t ask me to borrow my copy, get your own. It’s well worth it.more
Initially, it was the book's title that caught my attention. Although I think it was a bit of a cheat for Vida to borrow it from a Sami poet, it fit the novel perfectly. Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name tracks Clarissa Iverton's search for her unknown biological father, the mother who abandoned her when she was 14, and, in the end, her own identity. Her quest takes her to the northermost parts of Lapland, where she encounters Sami culture, an elderly woman healer, and even a snow hotel.In an interview in the back of the book, Vida says she was surprised that many readers disliked her main character. While I have to agree that her actions were impulsive, reckless, and selfish (and that I didn't find her funny, as Vida intended), Clarissa needed to be all of those things to make the necessary connection between her self and her parents. We are what we inherit, and we are what we experience--at least until we make a conscious decision to change.I started the book while waiting for a flight and had almost finished it by the time I arrived at my destination about four hours later. (Having to wait to get to those last 25 pages was a killer!) It's fast-paced and engaging, and the structure (it's broken into short segments) pulls the reader along. While some readers have complained that they wanted more details, I felt that Vida's crisp, stark style perfectly reflected the strangeness of the landscape, which was bitterly cold, relentlessly dark despite the brilliance of the snow, and often threatening. It wouldn't have been the same book had it been filled with descriptive details; it was meant to focus on Clarissa's personal and emotional journey, and it did. My star rating was held down a bit by some illogical leaps in the plot, a few too many coincidences, and an ending that was a bit too neatly tied up. Still, I'd definitely recommend Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name.more
The life of a woman is upturned when her father dies: desperate to understand the earlier abandonment of her mother, she travels to Scandinavia in search of answers. Unusual and affecting, but ultimately left me feeling chilled.more
This is probably a story I'll soon forget but the setting was memorable. It starts out in New York when Clarissa, a 28 year old woman, is burying her father. In going through his papers, she finds her birth certificate and discovers her father is actually someone she's never heard of. Both her mother, who walked out on the family when Clarissa was 14, and her fiance, who she soon discovers knew the secret about her father, never saw fit to tell her about it. Within days, Clarissa decides to try and find her real father who she believes is a Sami from Lapland (which is north of Finland and the Arctic Circle) and by the end of the first chapter she's travelled to Finland to begin her search. Most of the book is set in Lapland during the winter months and it's cold and bleak and dark but in some strange way also haunting and magical. For some reason, I'm drawn to books that do a good job describing extremes of climate, which in real life I avoid at all costs. The setting mirrors Clarissa's feelings of abandonment and isolation and the writing is often very good. The story was unusual enough to keep me interested (Lapland, the Sami people, reindeer herding, ice hotels and a twist towards the end that I didn't see coming) but I just never loved the book. I'm giving this book 3 stars. I liked the writer enough to try something else she's written but I don't think I'm going to be recommending it.more
On the day of her father's funeral, Clarissa learns that her father wasn't her biological father. To make matters worse, her fiance had know the truth for fifteen years and didn't tell her. Without parents, her mother had left when she was fourteen, Clarissa ventures to the Arctic Circle to find her biological father and discover the truth of her birth.more
This book is about Clarissa, a 28 year old woman whose father has just died and whose mother abandoned her family when Clarissa was 14. When Clarissa finds out that the man she thought was her father wasn't, and that her real father is a Sami priest in Lapland, she sets off on a journey to find out where she really comes from.Vendela Vida's writing is very spare. Not a word is wasted - she tells the story she has to tell and nothing more. There is no flowery language, or long descriptions. I really liked this way of writing as it made it a very easy book to read, and I found myself racing through it to find out what Clarissa's true past was. However, the author left out a lot of emotion (in fact, I thought there was hardly any in what could have been an emotive book) and I think the story suffered a little for this, as it made it hard for me to empathise with Clarissa.I think this was a good read, an interesting narrative with a setting that was almost the star of the show, but ultimately probably not that memorable. I do think it's a book that is worth reading though, as it has an unusual feel to it.more
Vida tells the story of Clarissa Iverton, a young woman who was raised by her father after being abandoned by her mother. When her father dies, she learns that he wasn't her biological father and sets off to Lapland in search of her real father. The plot twists and turns a few times as Clarissa searches for connection. This book drew me in. The sparse style fit well with a story in which secrets were kept and relationships never developed the closeness that enables a person to feel truly known. Clarissa wasn't always a likeable character, but her desparation was understandable given the circumstances. The ending was somewhat of a surprise, but seemed in keeping with the distance between characters that was maintained throughout the story. Two things kept this from being a great read for me. Sometimes I felt as though the author was trying too hard to write cleverly. The turns of phrase seemed inconsistent with the overall sparse style. The writing sometimes pulled me out of the story. It didn't happen often, but enough to break the flow. I also was fascinated with the details about life in Lapland (e.g., the reindeer herding, the ice hotel), but those details were only sprinkled in. I found myself wanting to become immersed in this culture. In the end, though, I'm glad that I read this book, and I cautiously recommend it.more
Clarissa is cleaning up her recently deceased father's apartment when she comes across her birth certificate. She is shocked to discover that the man she has always known to be her father is not biologically related to her. Clarissa is further shocked to discover that her fiance, Pankaj, had known of her parentage many years before but never divulged this information. Clarissa lashes out at him I believe in part because there is really no one else to visit her anger on. Her mother left when she was 14/15, never to be seen again, the man she thought was her father is dead and her only living relative is her developmentally challenged brother who has never spoken. Pankaj becomes her easy scape goat upon whom to rain her venom.I finished this book yesterday and I am still wrestling with how I feel about Clarissa. She is a woman in pain and quite honestly has been for a long time. Even before her mother's disappearance, she was never the best of mothers. Her mother was always flighty, shallow and seemed to pick up and drop people at will. But a parent is a parent and Clarissa misses her mother intensely when she is gone. She even goes searching for her mother on more than one occasion. With this as a backdrop, I can understand some of Clarissa's decisions while shaking my head at others. Upon her discovery of her parentage, she leaves her fiance in New York, without a word to him as to her plans and goes in search of her biological father who lives in Lapland. Her journey reflects a young woman battling emotional issues, anger and a descent into recklessness. She meets and "befriends" a varied cast of characters without a lot of concern for her safety. Its almost like she is dead inside and is looking for a way to get a reaction by putting herself in danger. I was saddened for her while at the same time exasperated at her behavior. By the end, she makes some very drastic decisions that I could not fully fathom. On the one hand I could sympathize with her need to leave her cloying past behind and start anew but why discard so much? I can understand and commiserate with the need to separate from the things and people that have shaped us, but the way in which she makes a clean break is cold and bloodless. Without maybe even realizing or fully acknowledging it, Clarissa becomes like the mother who hurt her so painfully. Clarissa's mother is a very interesting character herself. Here we are presented with a woman who has two children and is unapologetic about casting them aside and moving on. No care, no remorse. It was a bit shocking to read. This is a very quiet and atmospheric book. Reading about life in Lapland reminds me of cold and snow drenched environs where the ice on the ground muffles sound. This cold, bare and frigid setting echoes the plot quite seamlessly.more
Clarissa is shocked to learn her father is not her biological father. She travels north of the Arctic Circle to try to find her father, believed to be a Sami, a member of the indigenous population. She is successful in finding the man who was her mother’s first husband, but this man only offers more revelations. The book has a dreamlike quality that I liked. The end was very satisfying.more
How do we find ourseves? 28 years old Clarissa, abandoned by her mother as a young teen, discovers she is also not the daughter of the man she thought her father. Her journey to find her father takes her to Lapland where her mother was an anthropology student long ago. The style is elegant and sparse and the setting is wonderful. Not a perfect novel, the ending seems contrived, but haunting and memorable.more
Liked this novel about a woman searching for her father in Lapland. I'm always impressed when an author can communicate so much in so few words. The economical prose works especially well with the cold, barren setting of the bookmore
Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name is the story of Clarissa Iverson - a twenty-nine year old who discovers, upon her father’s death, that everything she thought was true about her family is not. The novel is narrated by Clarissa who is living with her fiance Pankaj when her father unexpectedly dies. The reader learns that Clarissa’s mother had abandoned her family, leaving her daughter stranded in a mall, 15 years earlier.Clarissa, echoing her mother’s abandonment, leaves Pankaj without telling him where she is going and flees to Lapland to locate her “real” father. Her journey introduces her to the mystical Samis, the indigenous people who inhabit the Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden, and Finland as well as the far northern parts of Russia. As the story progresses, Clarissa begins to uncover not only her mother’s darkest secrets, but her own identity.Vendela Vida has written a novel about betrayal, family secrets, shame and its aftermath, and the search for identity. Her prose is spare and injected with a sardonic humor which allows Vida to ironically explore the most devastating of human emotions. The character of Clarissa is raw and honest - and despite her flaws and her final decision (which was not completely unexpected), I liked her. Clarissa’s voice is one to which anyone who has experienced loss can relate. She carries the reader through her story with an urgency that is haunting in its appeal.Vida has created an evocative novel steeped in history and culture. She examines the tough subjects with an honesty which borders on ‘matter-of-fact’ but works for this story. There are not easy answers in this novel which would make it an excellent book to discuss with a reading group. I read Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name quickly - in the span of one day- because I simply had to know where it would take me. Clarissa is a hard character to forget…I expect I will be thinking of her for quite some time.Highly recommended.more
a beautifully written book about a young woman's quest first to find her father, and then her mother. Some lovely turns of phrase and poetic prose.more
This is a very easy, fast-paced and interesting read. The main character is not likable - she is self-centered and quick to judge others harshly, but she is very believable. One of the themes of the book is the difficulty of understanding others without knowing their experiences in life. Some of the coincidences strained belief, but the story is set in Lapland which has a small population and so probably everyone does know someone who knows someone else.more
Very good. Story of a young woman searching for unknown parts of her past and family. Reminded me of a spare Mona Simpson, in the subject, not in writing style. A memorable and unfamiliar setting, north of the Arctic Circle, with a main character who is not always easy to like or understand. Eero, Hendrick and Anna Kristine are all very definite and well drawn characters. Glad I found and read this book.more
Very well-written yet an easy read. The plot (about a girl trying to find her mother who left the family) was quite improbable, since she found her mother so easily, in Lapland of all places. And the coincidence of the woman she was staying with whose son.....well, it ruined the suspension of disbelief. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it in spite of myself.more
The title and the premise of this book are intriguing, but while the plot is engaging, it seems that Vida doesn't dig into her subject matter as much as she should. Richer descriptions of the scenery, the Sami culture, and even a richer description of the narrator, Clarissa, would have served this story well. As it is, the book seems to skim over the top of what could have been a very deep and engaging story as it follows Clarissa on her search for her real father and then for her mother who disappeared early in her life. However, the somewhat sparse detail of the writing captures the surreal feeling that must result from Clarissa's being trapped between a life she is alienated from by the betrayal of those closest to her and a life that has yet to begin.more
This 226-page book is written in such a light style that it can be easily read in a day.When 28-year-old Clarissa's father dies, she discovers that he was not her biological father. Her mother disappeared 14 years ago, and Clarissa sets off for Lapland to search for her paternal roots.The plot is somewhat improbable; Clarissa manages to find her mother, learn who her biological father was, and meet his family all with relatively little difficulty. I wish the plot had lived up to the beautiful title of the book, which was taken from a Sami poem.For me, the ending was a wonderful surprise that redeemed an otherwise average book. It gave a powerful message about choices and about making our own stories.more
Refreshingly different- a young American woman abandoned by her mother sets off on a quest to find out the truth about her background- all the way to Lapland. However,I had trouble identifying with the main character and the end was too abrupt.more
The sequence of events in this book are written with such simplicity that it almost seems improbable. I had to work hard to suspend my disbelief at how easily the logistics of deciding to disappear from New York to above the artic circle came to Clarissa. Nevertheless the idea that this situation could happen was enough to make me plough through this book in 2 days. To be honest I still haven't decided if it was worth it though.more
The title (derived from the title of a Sami poem) is better than the book, yet the story is enthralling and beautiful in places. The ending feels rushed. It is difficult for an author to successfully deal with multiple subjects of emotional intensity all at one time and Vendela Vida seems to have done that almost as well as can be done in the space of a few hundred pages.more
Read all 29 reviews

Reviews

This short novel, written plainly, economically and well, centers on a young woman’s search for identity. It takes the heroine, Clarissa, to Lapland, where she finds lost bits of her family history.more
I rate this book 5 stars.

I found Vida's style to be sparse and very compelling. I read this novel in one sitting as I didn't want to interrupt the flow. Vida raises big questions about identity, truth, belonging and connections to the past. In her acknowledgements, Vida states it was an essay she read that "made her curious about the kind of person who would see their past as unconnected to their present". This novel was the result of trying to answer that question.more
It was the title that led me to pick up this book in the library. I loved it. With an economy of words the author sets out the story; one of abandonment, identity and survival. There are wonderful vivid sketches of Finland / Lappland and I really felt the cold. However, there are too many major conincidences!more
Light as air, yet compelling.more
This book doesn't really have much to recommend it, except its premise. The main character, Clarissa, learns upon her father's death that he is not her biological father. Her real father is a Sami, the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia. Her mother disappeared when she was twelve as well. Clarissa sets off for Finland to try to find her father and learn more about her mother. As I said, the book doesn't have much to recommend it. The writing is not especially interesting and the plot turns out to be not so interesting either, but the setup was so odd and interesting that I kept reading just to find out what happened.more
I fashion myself a writer. It’s something I wanted to do from the time I was twelve years old. I will admit freely that although I have the desire, I don’t have the skill. I’m okay with that. I wanted to tell you these things because Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name is the novel I wish I could write.The protagonist is Clarissa, a woman in her late twenties, who learns that the man she thought was her father was in fact not. This leads her on a journey to find the truth. The core of this novel is self-discovery. It’s about finding you are not who you think you are, then casting everything you do know aside to search for the truth. This novel was excellent from start to finish. Ms. Vida has a way of engaging the reader. I really felt that I knew Clarissa, knew how she came to her conclusions. This novel made me catch my breath. It gave me that tight feeling in my chest. I finished reading it over a month ago and I can still vividly feel Clarissa’s confusion, her hurt and anger, her feelings of hopelessness and uncertainty. This is the kind of novel that is dictated by the character, not the author. I think in the end Clarissa made the best decision for herself, one she has to live with, the one that will make her happy.I also enjoyed this novel immensely because up until then I never even heard of Lapland or the Sami people. One of my favorite parts of reading is discovering new places. Ms. Vida does a beautiful job of describing this magical land filled with salt of the earth people. I could see the look in Anna Kristine’s dark eyes, I could taste the saltiness of the reindeer meet, feel the chill of the ice hotel. Even as I write this, I want to pick up this novel and read it again. It’s a complex story simply told. And don’t ask me to borrow my copy, get your own. It’s well worth it.more
Initially, it was the book's title that caught my attention. Although I think it was a bit of a cheat for Vida to borrow it from a Sami poet, it fit the novel perfectly. Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name tracks Clarissa Iverton's search for her unknown biological father, the mother who abandoned her when she was 14, and, in the end, her own identity. Her quest takes her to the northermost parts of Lapland, where she encounters Sami culture, an elderly woman healer, and even a snow hotel.In an interview in the back of the book, Vida says she was surprised that many readers disliked her main character. While I have to agree that her actions were impulsive, reckless, and selfish (and that I didn't find her funny, as Vida intended), Clarissa needed to be all of those things to make the necessary connection between her self and her parents. We are what we inherit, and we are what we experience--at least until we make a conscious decision to change.I started the book while waiting for a flight and had almost finished it by the time I arrived at my destination about four hours later. (Having to wait to get to those last 25 pages was a killer!) It's fast-paced and engaging, and the structure (it's broken into short segments) pulls the reader along. While some readers have complained that they wanted more details, I felt that Vida's crisp, stark style perfectly reflected the strangeness of the landscape, which was bitterly cold, relentlessly dark despite the brilliance of the snow, and often threatening. It wouldn't have been the same book had it been filled with descriptive details; it was meant to focus on Clarissa's personal and emotional journey, and it did. My star rating was held down a bit by some illogical leaps in the plot, a few too many coincidences, and an ending that was a bit too neatly tied up. Still, I'd definitely recommend Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name.more
The life of a woman is upturned when her father dies: desperate to understand the earlier abandonment of her mother, she travels to Scandinavia in search of answers. Unusual and affecting, but ultimately left me feeling chilled.more
This is probably a story I'll soon forget but the setting was memorable. It starts out in New York when Clarissa, a 28 year old woman, is burying her father. In going through his papers, she finds her birth certificate and discovers her father is actually someone she's never heard of. Both her mother, who walked out on the family when Clarissa was 14, and her fiance, who she soon discovers knew the secret about her father, never saw fit to tell her about it. Within days, Clarissa decides to try and find her real father who she believes is a Sami from Lapland (which is north of Finland and the Arctic Circle) and by the end of the first chapter she's travelled to Finland to begin her search. Most of the book is set in Lapland during the winter months and it's cold and bleak and dark but in some strange way also haunting and magical. For some reason, I'm drawn to books that do a good job describing extremes of climate, which in real life I avoid at all costs. The setting mirrors Clarissa's feelings of abandonment and isolation and the writing is often very good. The story was unusual enough to keep me interested (Lapland, the Sami people, reindeer herding, ice hotels and a twist towards the end that I didn't see coming) but I just never loved the book. I'm giving this book 3 stars. I liked the writer enough to try something else she's written but I don't think I'm going to be recommending it.more
On the day of her father's funeral, Clarissa learns that her father wasn't her biological father. To make matters worse, her fiance had know the truth for fifteen years and didn't tell her. Without parents, her mother had left when she was fourteen, Clarissa ventures to the Arctic Circle to find her biological father and discover the truth of her birth.more
This book is about Clarissa, a 28 year old woman whose father has just died and whose mother abandoned her family when Clarissa was 14. When Clarissa finds out that the man she thought was her father wasn't, and that her real father is a Sami priest in Lapland, she sets off on a journey to find out where she really comes from.Vendela Vida's writing is very spare. Not a word is wasted - she tells the story she has to tell and nothing more. There is no flowery language, or long descriptions. I really liked this way of writing as it made it a very easy book to read, and I found myself racing through it to find out what Clarissa's true past was. However, the author left out a lot of emotion (in fact, I thought there was hardly any in what could have been an emotive book) and I think the story suffered a little for this, as it made it hard for me to empathise with Clarissa.I think this was a good read, an interesting narrative with a setting that was almost the star of the show, but ultimately probably not that memorable. I do think it's a book that is worth reading though, as it has an unusual feel to it.more
Vida tells the story of Clarissa Iverton, a young woman who was raised by her father after being abandoned by her mother. When her father dies, she learns that he wasn't her biological father and sets off to Lapland in search of her real father. The plot twists and turns a few times as Clarissa searches for connection. This book drew me in. The sparse style fit well with a story in which secrets were kept and relationships never developed the closeness that enables a person to feel truly known. Clarissa wasn't always a likeable character, but her desparation was understandable given the circumstances. The ending was somewhat of a surprise, but seemed in keeping with the distance between characters that was maintained throughout the story. Two things kept this from being a great read for me. Sometimes I felt as though the author was trying too hard to write cleverly. The turns of phrase seemed inconsistent with the overall sparse style. The writing sometimes pulled me out of the story. It didn't happen often, but enough to break the flow. I also was fascinated with the details about life in Lapland (e.g., the reindeer herding, the ice hotel), but those details were only sprinkled in. I found myself wanting to become immersed in this culture. In the end, though, I'm glad that I read this book, and I cautiously recommend it.more
Clarissa is cleaning up her recently deceased father's apartment when she comes across her birth certificate. She is shocked to discover that the man she has always known to be her father is not biologically related to her. Clarissa is further shocked to discover that her fiance, Pankaj, had known of her parentage many years before but never divulged this information. Clarissa lashes out at him I believe in part because there is really no one else to visit her anger on. Her mother left when she was 14/15, never to be seen again, the man she thought was her father is dead and her only living relative is her developmentally challenged brother who has never spoken. Pankaj becomes her easy scape goat upon whom to rain her venom.I finished this book yesterday and I am still wrestling with how I feel about Clarissa. She is a woman in pain and quite honestly has been for a long time. Even before her mother's disappearance, she was never the best of mothers. Her mother was always flighty, shallow and seemed to pick up and drop people at will. But a parent is a parent and Clarissa misses her mother intensely when she is gone. She even goes searching for her mother on more than one occasion. With this as a backdrop, I can understand some of Clarissa's decisions while shaking my head at others. Upon her discovery of her parentage, she leaves her fiance in New York, without a word to him as to her plans and goes in search of her biological father who lives in Lapland. Her journey reflects a young woman battling emotional issues, anger and a descent into recklessness. She meets and "befriends" a varied cast of characters without a lot of concern for her safety. Its almost like she is dead inside and is looking for a way to get a reaction by putting herself in danger. I was saddened for her while at the same time exasperated at her behavior. By the end, she makes some very drastic decisions that I could not fully fathom. On the one hand I could sympathize with her need to leave her cloying past behind and start anew but why discard so much? I can understand and commiserate with the need to separate from the things and people that have shaped us, but the way in which she makes a clean break is cold and bloodless. Without maybe even realizing or fully acknowledging it, Clarissa becomes like the mother who hurt her so painfully. Clarissa's mother is a very interesting character herself. Here we are presented with a woman who has two children and is unapologetic about casting them aside and moving on. No care, no remorse. It was a bit shocking to read. This is a very quiet and atmospheric book. Reading about life in Lapland reminds me of cold and snow drenched environs where the ice on the ground muffles sound. This cold, bare and frigid setting echoes the plot quite seamlessly.more
Clarissa is shocked to learn her father is not her biological father. She travels north of the Arctic Circle to try to find her father, believed to be a Sami, a member of the indigenous population. She is successful in finding the man who was her mother’s first husband, but this man only offers more revelations. The book has a dreamlike quality that I liked. The end was very satisfying.more
How do we find ourseves? 28 years old Clarissa, abandoned by her mother as a young teen, discovers she is also not the daughter of the man she thought her father. Her journey to find her father takes her to Lapland where her mother was an anthropology student long ago. The style is elegant and sparse and the setting is wonderful. Not a perfect novel, the ending seems contrived, but haunting and memorable.more
Liked this novel about a woman searching for her father in Lapland. I'm always impressed when an author can communicate so much in so few words. The economical prose works especially well with the cold, barren setting of the bookmore
Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name is the story of Clarissa Iverson - a twenty-nine year old who discovers, upon her father’s death, that everything she thought was true about her family is not. The novel is narrated by Clarissa who is living with her fiance Pankaj when her father unexpectedly dies. The reader learns that Clarissa’s mother had abandoned her family, leaving her daughter stranded in a mall, 15 years earlier.Clarissa, echoing her mother’s abandonment, leaves Pankaj without telling him where she is going and flees to Lapland to locate her “real” father. Her journey introduces her to the mystical Samis, the indigenous people who inhabit the Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden, and Finland as well as the far northern parts of Russia. As the story progresses, Clarissa begins to uncover not only her mother’s darkest secrets, but her own identity.Vendela Vida has written a novel about betrayal, family secrets, shame and its aftermath, and the search for identity. Her prose is spare and injected with a sardonic humor which allows Vida to ironically explore the most devastating of human emotions. The character of Clarissa is raw and honest - and despite her flaws and her final decision (which was not completely unexpected), I liked her. Clarissa’s voice is one to which anyone who has experienced loss can relate. She carries the reader through her story with an urgency that is haunting in its appeal.Vida has created an evocative novel steeped in history and culture. She examines the tough subjects with an honesty which borders on ‘matter-of-fact’ but works for this story. There are not easy answers in this novel which would make it an excellent book to discuss with a reading group. I read Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name quickly - in the span of one day- because I simply had to know where it would take me. Clarissa is a hard character to forget…I expect I will be thinking of her for quite some time.Highly recommended.more
a beautifully written book about a young woman's quest first to find her father, and then her mother. Some lovely turns of phrase and poetic prose.more
This is a very easy, fast-paced and interesting read. The main character is not likable - she is self-centered and quick to judge others harshly, but she is very believable. One of the themes of the book is the difficulty of understanding others without knowing their experiences in life. Some of the coincidences strained belief, but the story is set in Lapland which has a small population and so probably everyone does know someone who knows someone else.more
Very good. Story of a young woman searching for unknown parts of her past and family. Reminded me of a spare Mona Simpson, in the subject, not in writing style. A memorable and unfamiliar setting, north of the Arctic Circle, with a main character who is not always easy to like or understand. Eero, Hendrick and Anna Kristine are all very definite and well drawn characters. Glad I found and read this book.more
Very well-written yet an easy read. The plot (about a girl trying to find her mother who left the family) was quite improbable, since she found her mother so easily, in Lapland of all places. And the coincidence of the woman she was staying with whose son.....well, it ruined the suspension of disbelief. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it in spite of myself.more
The title and the premise of this book are intriguing, but while the plot is engaging, it seems that Vida doesn't dig into her subject matter as much as she should. Richer descriptions of the scenery, the Sami culture, and even a richer description of the narrator, Clarissa, would have served this story well. As it is, the book seems to skim over the top of what could have been a very deep and engaging story as it follows Clarissa on her search for her real father and then for her mother who disappeared early in her life. However, the somewhat sparse detail of the writing captures the surreal feeling that must result from Clarissa's being trapped between a life she is alienated from by the betrayal of those closest to her and a life that has yet to begin.more
This 226-page book is written in such a light style that it can be easily read in a day.When 28-year-old Clarissa's father dies, she discovers that he was not her biological father. Her mother disappeared 14 years ago, and Clarissa sets off for Lapland to search for her paternal roots.The plot is somewhat improbable; Clarissa manages to find her mother, learn who her biological father was, and meet his family all with relatively little difficulty. I wish the plot had lived up to the beautiful title of the book, which was taken from a Sami poem.For me, the ending was a wonderful surprise that redeemed an otherwise average book. It gave a powerful message about choices and about making our own stories.more
Refreshingly different- a young American woman abandoned by her mother sets off on a quest to find out the truth about her background- all the way to Lapland. However,I had trouble identifying with the main character and the end was too abrupt.more
The sequence of events in this book are written with such simplicity that it almost seems improbable. I had to work hard to suspend my disbelief at how easily the logistics of deciding to disappear from New York to above the artic circle came to Clarissa. Nevertheless the idea that this situation could happen was enough to make me plough through this book in 2 days. To be honest I still haven't decided if it was worth it though.more
The title (derived from the title of a Sami poem) is better than the book, yet the story is enthralling and beautiful in places. The ending feels rushed. It is difficult for an author to successfully deal with multiple subjects of emotional intensity all at one time and Vendela Vida seems to have done that almost as well as can be done in the space of a few hundred pages.more
Load more
scribd