I’ve been obsessing over Sami culture in the last few months.
It might have begun with my adoration over Jon Henrik Fjällgren when he performed at Melodifestivalen. Whatever it was that started my fascination (let’s be honest, it was Jon Henrik), it propelled me into a whole new world. I spent many nights perusing the Internet and learning more about Sami culture.
For those of you who are all like, “Huh? Sami? What’s that?” – Allow me to enlighten you. Sami people are the Indigenous people that inhabit the Arctic areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. They call the region Sàpmi but it’s more commonly known to tourists as Lapland (although I think I read somewhere that the geographical area of Lapland doesn’t cover all the Sàpmi regions).
Aside from the hauntingly beautiful jojks of Jon Henrik, I was captivated by Sami culture because of their spiritual connection with nature. Something about their culture just resonated with me as I read further into their history. I then started reading fictional books that touched a little bit on Sami culture.
Here are those books!
I loved this book. This is the first book I’ve read from Cecilia Ekbäck and she really knows how to create a sense of mystery.
The book is set in the 1800s in a small village in the North of Sweden. It’s told through three perspectives – Magnus (a geologist), Lovisa (the minister’s daughter) and Biijá (an elderly woman from a Sami tribe). The plot revolves around the murder of a priest, a law officer and a settler and it is assumed that a Sami person is the killer. BUT ALL IS NOT AS IT SEEMS. That’s all I’ll say to avoid spoiling it for those of you who want to read it. Trust me, it’s a good mystery.
I wouldn’t say this book is by any means a literary work of art. I found it hard to read at times because I found some of the sentence structures a little strange and static… but the plot really carried it through.
Genre: Fiction/Mystery Thriller/Crime
Jo Nesbo is a pretty acclaimed writer in the crime and thriller scene. Midnight Sun was the first book I read of his and I can see why his novels are popular.
The novel follows Jon, a guy who is on the run from Oslo’s biggest crime lord. He flees to the North of Norway where he encounters a few strange characters… characters that either help him or betray him. Dun, dun DUUUN. You’ll have to find out yourself.
Midnight Sun is a quick and easy read and though it doesn’t focus solely on Sami culture, it does touch on it a little bit.
NORTHERN LIGHTS AND MIDNIGHT SUN by SNORRE ASKE AND JENS-UWE KUMPCH
Genre: Picture Book/Poetry
I bought this book in 2014 on my Hurtigruten Cruise along the coast of Norway. It doesn’t have anything to do with Sami culture, but it does capture that ethereal sensation of the Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights.
This book is just a collection of texts and images that paint a picture of the Northern landscape. Here’s one:
Well, that’s it! I’m still on the prowl for more Scandinavian based books, so if you know of any leave them in the comments. Bonus points if it’s about Sami culture.
Let me know if you pick up any of these books and give them a read!
Oh, and if you want to get stuck into Sami culture, try giving the tv series Midnight Sun a watch. It’s a crime/thriller series and it’s absolutely riveting. I watched the entire season in one sitting!