The Invention of Lefse: A Christmas Story

Overview

“Mette Iversdatter’s window was a porthole on the winter sky.”

Larry Woiwode brings us into the simple and anxious rhythms of life for a Norwegian farm girl in the first decade of the twentieth century. Christmas Eve falls in the midst of deprivation as Mette’s family prepares to journey to her grandparents’ farm. When her father fails to bag a big deer on the journey, they arrive, like everyone else, almost empty-handed. Yet despite frustration and disappointment, this extended...

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The Invention of Lefse: A Christmas Story

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Overview

“Mette Iversdatter’s window was a porthole on the winter sky.”

Larry Woiwode brings us into the simple and anxious rhythms of life for a Norwegian farm girl in the first decade of the twentieth century. Christmas Eve falls in the midst of deprivation as Mette’s family prepares to journey to her grandparents’ farm. When her father fails to bag a big deer on the journey, they arrive, like everyone else, almost empty-handed. Yet despite frustration and disappointment, this extended family combines their meager resources to create an unexpected marvel of a meal that transforms the family’s Christmas.

Sharply observed and crisply written, Woiwode’s story throbs with truths known to human hearts in any century. He carefully renders the hesitant hopes of a child, the aching disappointments and steady perseverance of her elders, and the surprise of beauty and joy. That prayers may yet be answered—that the provision may be greater even than the promise—is a truth for Christmas and always.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Novelist Woiwode tells a small tale, timeless as a folktale or myth, in his distinctive voice. An extended family in rural Norway gathers for Christmas in the first decade of the 20th century. Times have been hard, and little can be brought to the family celebration. But flour and milk from one visitor, sugar from another, and potatoes from a third make a rich treat for the family. This is a folksy departure from the standard holiday fare, one that illuminates Norwegian cultural roots, family ways, and the generous hope that is the gift of Christmas. All ages. Sept.
Library Journal
Lefse is a traditional, Norwegian flatbread made out of potato, milk, and flour and cooked on a griddle. Here, Woiwode tells the story of its invention, as seen through the eyes of young Mette Iversdatter. On Christmas Eve in 12th-century Norway, Mette and her family travel to her grandparents' farm. Her father is unable to shoot a deer on the journey, and the family arrives empty-handed. Family members pull together their meager resources to create a feast, and a new tradition is born. VERDICT Beautifully written, this lovely little gem is bound to become a new Christmas reading tradition for families. Recommend it to parents who love Tomie dePaola's The Legend of the Poinsettia or Michael J. Rosen's Elijah's Angel.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433527364
  • Publisher: Crossway Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/2011
  • Pages: 62
  • Sales rank: 963,752
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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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