The Invention of Lefse: A Christmas Storyby Larry Woiwode
This new Christmas story opens a window on the stark world of a bare Norwegian Christmas where small, unlooked-for blessings bring new hope and beauty to the life of a struggling family.
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- 5.70(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.50(d)
What People are saying about this
“Woiwode has a poet’s sensibility, and his scenes can resonate with perfect descriptions, not a detail astray. . . . I could go on enumerating the solidity and effective voice with which Woiwode sketches his world.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Here is a writer truly of American grain, a writer whose prose throbs with affection for and understanding of the land and its people.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“He continues to be a writer who can not only dazzle . . . but illuminate. . . . There is something organic, whole, and necessary about his work; it blows fuses.”
—The Boston Globe
“One reads Woiwode as much for the power and stunning beauty of his prose as for any story he chooses to tell.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“He writes with a sense of both the quicksilver movement of language on the run and the reflective inner drag and furrowing of thought.”
—The New York Times Book Review
Meet the Author
Larry Woiwode is a Guggenheim and Lannan Fellow, recipient of the William Faulkner Foundation Award and John DosPassos Prize, a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Book Critics Circle Award, and has received the Medal of Merit from the American Academy of Arts and Letters “for distinction in the art of the short story.” His work has been featured in publications such as The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Books & Culture, and The Atlantic. He is Poet Laureate of North Dakota, Writer-in-Residence at Jamestown College, and author of Words Made Fresh and Words for Readers and Writers.
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The Invention of Lefse is a peaceful, homely Christmas tale that spins a fable for the origin of Norwegian lefse bread while also drawing the reader back into a long-forgotten day of simple celebration and elaborate joy. Thirteen-year-old Mette Iversdatter wakes early on Christmas eve to the wonder of frost on her new glass bedroom window and to the prospect of the day-long journey by sledge to her grandparents’ home. The spectre of famine hangs over their family celebration, for while their own wheat crop was adequate, Mette’s parents know that their extended family is in need, prompting a wrapped gift of fresh ground flour. With only two bullets remaining, Dad mourns a missed shot at a huge deer which would have been their Christmas feast. Thus, disappointment is an unwelcome guest that arrives late in the day to Grampy’s eager greeting: “Did you bring us deer meat?” Family conversation wobbles through the evening, rather like Grampy’s uneven rocking chair, until he gathers Mette and the children for a story. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, the Christmas spirit reigns in a scene reminiscent of An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott. Gifts of sugar, flour, milk, and creamy butter transform blackened potatoes into a Christmas breakfast feast: lefse! “Lefse is the gift for all,” cried Grampy, and he spoke truer than he knew. Made from what they had, the lesson of lefse foreshadows the fulfillment of Mette’s Christmas prayers, while reminding readers from more prosperous times that the spirit of Christmas lives in a heart that celebrates what God has already given. Disclosure: This book was provided by Crossway in exchange for my unbiased review.
This was an interesting read, but definitely not a favorite. It is the author's imaginative view of how lefse bread came to be. (Which is a Norwegian flatbread now primarily eaten during the holidays.) "The Invention of Lefse" is a sweet story of a Norwegian family on a bleak Christmas when there doesn't seem much to celebrate. I'm not sure to recommend this book for children or adults. I suppose it would make a nice family read. The main thing I didn't like was that the dialogue seems to get a bit dull at times. For a short story... it's a nice read.