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Palace of the Snow Queen: Winter Travels in Lapland
     

Palace of the Snow Queen: Winter Travels in Lapland

by Barbara Sjoholm
 

A Frequent traveler to Northern Europe, Barbara Sjoholm set off one winter to explore a region that had long intrigued her.

Sjoholm first travels to Kiruna, Sweden, to see the Ice Hotel under construction and to meet the ice artists who make its rooms into environmental art. Traveling to the North Cape, she encounters increasing darkness and cold, but also

Overview


A Frequent traveler to Northern Europe, Barbara Sjoholm set off one winter to explore a region that had long intrigued her.

Sjoholm first travels to Kiruna, Sweden, to see the Ice Hotel under construction and to meet the ice artists who make its rooms into environmental art. Traveling to the North Cape, she encounters increasing darkness and cold, but also radiant light over the mountains and snow fields. She crosses the Finnmark Plateau by dogsled, attends a Sami film festival (with an outdoor ice screen), and visits Santa's Post Office in Finland.

Over the course of three winters, Sjoholm unearths the region's rich history, including the culture of the Sami. As Sjoholm becomes more familiar with Kiruna, she writes of the changes occurring in northern Scandinavia and contemplates the tensions between tourism, the expansion of mining and development of the Ice Hotel, and age-old patterns of land use, the Sami's struggle to maintain their reindeer grazing lands and migration routes.

In The Palace of the Snow Queen, Sjoholm relates her adventures in the far north, and considers how ice and snow shape our imaginations and create, at a time of global warming, a vision that increasingly draws visitors to Lapland.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

The icy tips of Norway, Sweden, and Finland stretch above the Arctic Circle. The region is home to the Sami, the indigenous people of Lapland, and has become a tourist destination for the hardy and for those who don't know how cold -20°F really is-until they are sitting in an outdoor ice theater watching Macbeth performed in Sami. Sjoholm (The Pirate Queen) escapes the grief of a lost relationship to explore these frozen lands and the people who live there. She spends time in Kiruna, an iron ore mining town near the famous Ice Hotel, which draws tourists to its ice bar and ice beds. She explores the conflicts between visitors who seek both an ideal, untouched wilderness and controversial activities like dog sledding, which negatively impact reindeer herds and migration and the lives of the Sami people. After reading this book, readers get a real sense of life in a dark, very cold, yet also beautiful land. Recommended for public and academic libraries.
—Melissa Stearns

Kirkus Reviews
An American travel writer details how the Arctic winter in Lapland warmed her heart. With a childhood affinity for Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" and a desperate need to emerge from the fog of grief following a painful breakup in 2001, Sjoholm (Incognito Street: How Travel Made Me a Writer, 2006, etc.) sought a dramatic change of scene. So the Washington state native decided to take a Norwegian friend up on her offer to spend Christmas with her. "I wanted extremity and silence, a winter world to mirror my sense of loss," writes the author, "an absence of sunshine while I found my bearings again." That three-month sojourn led to another two years later, followed by a third excursion the year after; the experiences of all three trips comprise these engaging tales of winter in the northern reaches of Finland, Sweden and Norway. Sjoholm took off for Sweden in late 2001. Her first stop was the village of Jukkasjarvi to witness the annual construction of the renowned Icehotel, a marvelous 60-room structure of snow and ice built by architects and artists each fall to host about 13,000 visitors then melt the following spring-what the author aptly dubs "a fine example of art for art's sake." She then attends an unforgettable performance of Macbeth, staged outside in the Ice Globe Theatre in temperatures as cold as -13° F. Other trip highlights include a visit to the post office in Rovaniemi, Finland, the unofficial North Pole and recipient of all unstamped letters to Santa; an enchanting encounter with reindeer; and a traumatic attempt at dogsledding. Sjoholm also offers thoughtful sociopolitical ruminations on the plight of the nomadic Sami-the indigenous people of Sapmi, which todayincludes parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia-and, somewhat paradoxically for one in search of darkness, numerous moving descriptions of the ever-changing, often ephemeral natural light. An enticing entree for those in search of extreme weather in a scenic clime.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781593761592
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
09/28/2007
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

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