Photo of the ice hotel in Alta by arcticroute.com used under a Creative Commons license.
Vendela Vida, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name (Garrett County Press, 2005).
Having been abandoned by her mother at 14, Clarissa is devastated again years later when her father suddenly drops dead of a heart attack. She finds her birth certificate in his desk, only to discover that it says she was born in northern Finland and that her “Dad” is not her father. Her fiancé compounds the betrayal by telling her that he has known for years. Clarissa sets out for the Finnmark region of northern Finland and Norway to find herself there as best she can.
Lots of reviews: Madison Smartt Bell (The New York Times), Sage van Wing, Meredith McGuire, John Marshall (Seattle Post-Intelligencer), Peter Carty (The Independent), Rachel Giese (cbc.ca), Ryan Paine (abc.net.au), Connie Ogle (Miami Herald), Donna Rifkind (Washington Post), Ruth Davis Konigsberg (The Observer), Jenny Diski (The Guardian), Lily Gontard (GEIST), and Sage Van Wing (Boldtype). Lots more bloggy reaction as well: Lotus Reads, svw, Shantanu Dutta, wholeclothdesigns, Gentle Reader, Blog, Girl Detective, Lasrisas, and Melissa. In something of an upset, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name knocked off The Savage Detectives in The Morning News 2007 Tournament of Books (but then lost to Tree of Smoke in Round 2). Here is an interview of Visa by Felicia C. Sullivan. Here’s a podcast with Vida, posted by the publisher. Here’s another podcast hosted by Michael Silverblatt. Here’s another at The Sound of Young America. Here is Vida discussing the book on video. Joshunda Sanders profiled her for the San Francisco Chronicle. Here is the website for 826 Valencia, where Vida is a tutor. Finally, a few years ago Vida wrote this diary for Slate.