Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida
Published by Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins
Clarissa Iverton is twenty-eight years old when she learns that her beloved father isn’t her biological father after all. Her mother disappeared fourteen years earlier, the man who she thought was her father has just died, and her fiance revealed a major secret to her, so Clarissa decides to embark on a journey to find her biological father. Her travels take her to a hotel made of ice, in the middle of nowhere, and what she finds when she gets there shocks her and changes everything she thought she knew about herself. She then must decide what to do with what she now knows to be true about her past, and how to incorporate that knowledge into her future.
Vendela Vida has such a beautiful, lyrical quality to her writing. Her writing style gave this entire novel almost a dream-like feel and I would find myself lost in Clarissa’s story due to Vida’s gorgeous word choices and phrasing. Great quality writing isn’t hugely important to me but when it’s excellent in a unique way like Vida’s, I tend to notice it and fall in love with the prose – as was the case with Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name.
I felt deeply for Clarissa throughout this book. She begins the book completely unmoored – she has been deceived about a lot of important details about herself, and shockingly she was lied to by the most important person in her life, her fiance. I honestly cannot imagine what that feeling would be like, to literally have no one to trust, but Vida made me feel so much empathy for Clarissa’s situation. She wrote Clarissa’s character with so much truth and raw feeling that I felt her pain through the pages.
The events toward the end of the novel truly shocked me as they shocked Clarissa. The reader finds out the truth about Clarissa’s origins at the same time she does, so it completely threw me for a loop as the reveal was not what I was expecting at all. I’m not sure how I feel about the ending, to be honest, but I can’t explain my conflicts with it without getting into spoilers, so I’ll just avoid that entire conversation.
I really enjoyed Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name. Vendela Vida has an absolutely gorgeous writing style and she wrote a fully drawn character in Clarissa. I would absolutely recommend this one for lovers of character-driven novels with excellent writing.