Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name

by Vendela Vida

I’ve been fascinated by the Ice Hotel in Lapland since I first saw a Discovery Channel documentary about it, (Incidentally, can you imagine asking for home insurance quotes on a structure made of ice?) so when this novel by Vendela Vida, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name caught my attention, and the cover blurb mentioned the Ice Hotel, I had to read it.

I wasn’t disappointed, even though the Ice Hotel was only really involved in one short chapter near the middle of the book, because Vida’s story was reasonably interesting. Protagonist Clarissa, organizing papers after her father’s funeral, finds her birth certificate, with a stranger’s name on it. She also learns that her fiance, Pankaj, had known for years that the man who raised her was not her biological father.

Overwhelmed, Clarissa takes off for the Arctic, chasing her biological identity, in the form of a father she never knew, and the mother who disappeared when she was fourteen.

There is no romance, but there is a cultural exchange, a posse of lost relatives who take her in, and various appearances by reindeer.

This is not a warm, cozy novel, but one as cool and brilliant as icicles catching the slanted light of winter.
Read while drinking a hot beverage, or really good vodka.