Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review: The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley

genre: fiction

Iceland. Land of ice, volcanic rock and a people in love with their history and their poets. Freya's family immigrated to Canada from Iceland long before she was born, but Iceland's influence still permeated her early life. Freya's Icelandic grandmother and aunt, as well as her Canadaian town full of Icelandic natives and their descendants, are permanent fixtures in Freya's childhood. When, as an adult, Freya overhears words that she believes reveal a family secret, Freya beings a search to make sense of Her People's past.

I am having the hardest time writing this review, maybe it's just hard to sum up a family saga set across two continents. I really did enjoy this one, with one caveat. I loved the language and the sense I got of Iceland and its people. I personally have only spent a mere 36 hours in Iceland, but for me, she absolutely invoked the essence of that amazing place. She has woven history and folklore, genealogy and sociology, culture and geology into the story, with an incredible flow and pace. Freya is a sympathetic character forced to grow up early and make her way through some pretty tragic experiences, and I really liked her as a narrator: very familiar and detailed without often bogging down in those details.

My only complaint? I guessed the end about 1/4 of the way through. And while that just may not bother some people, I spent much of the book hoping that I was wrong and that there would be some wilder, less obvious, twist. To be honest, it didn't actually spoil the book for me, but it did color it a bit. As an immigrant story, a family story and wild and ancient place story, it worked. And while I did know the end, it was an interesting road on the way there.

5 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I do love a good immigrant story, but I'm not crazy about predictability, so I'll have to think about this one.

amckiereads said...

I also saw the ending coming, but not until much closer to the end. The way it was written gave it away at one point though, as if you were intended to find out before she did, almost. If that makes sense?

Shelley (Book Clutter) said...

I had a similar experience, but then I kind of figured the author meant for you to know because it's strongly implied in the title. It was a unique and interesting story though. I still need to write a review!

Corinne said...

Shelley, I agree, I think the author DID mean for us to know it, but I think it sort of spoiled the plot of the story a bit, for me, to spend 3/4 of the book waiting for her to figure out what I already know :)

Sharon Whitehill said...

As to the ending, the point was, I believe, that everyone (including readers) knows the truth befor Freya does. In this way, SHE is the one who is "tricked." Additionally, Freya is what we in literature call an "unreliable narrator." Just as in real life, others see many truths about her (and us) that she/we ourselves don't recognize. This novel is aptly titled because it's full of such tricks. What appears to be truth is deceptive; appearances are too often mistaken for realities. Isn't that so?

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