Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Review: Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name: A Novel by Vendela Vida


My rating - 2 stars
Although this book is extremely readable, I didn't care for it. I kept hoping to find something in it that would speak to me but it never happened. The writing style was stark and to the point. Something about it felt a bit off for me. I never felt like there was anything truly interesting about the writing, the characters, the plot. I kept waiting and ultimately finished the book feeling as if I'd wasted time even bothering to finish the book. It wasn't a BAD book but I am unable to find even one thing that I truly enjoyed about the book.

I kept hoping to get more detail about the place that the story focuses on - Lapland- which I know very little about. Yet, the stark writing style didn't give me any of what I was hoping for. I left feeling as if I knew even less than before I started. This was disappointing. I have to assume that this sparseness of place was intentional - to represent Clarissa's own lack of understanding/connection to place. However, it didn't work for me.

I didn't like the character of Clarissa. And not because she was selfish or interested only in her own journey. I could have gotten past that. I just never felt like we saw Clarissa. Like we were somehow only presented with part of her story or her makeup so I ultimately felt no connection to her or her journey. I just couldn't bring myself to care about her or what she was going through. I can (intellectually) say that her journey was sad, she was facing some intense things but I ultimately found myself not caring at all. Which is sad because I think if I'd been able to connect to her emotionally, I might have ultimately enjoyed the book more.

I also found the ending to be disappointing - not particularly satisfying or even clean. I thought it was a bit too simple and didn't really give me a sense that her journey had really had any impact whatsoever. It ultimately made me dislike the book even more. I just felt it was wrapped up too nicely - in too cutesy of a package.

I wish that I could recommend this one but I just cannot. I know others have enjoyed it so you might want to give it a try. However, I'd suggest you read something else.

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