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The Palace of the Snow Queen

Winter Travels in Lapland

List Price: $15.95

September 28, 2007 | Paperback |  5.5 x 9, 320 Pages | ISBN 9781593761592
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"An enticing entree for those in search of extreme weather in a scenic clime." —Kirkus

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.

BARBARA SJOHOLM is the author of many books, including The Pirate Queen: In Search of Grace O’Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea, a finalist for the PEN USA award in creative nonfiction. Her essays and travel journalism have appeared in The American Scholar, The Antioch Review, The Harvard Review, the New York Times, Smithsonian, and Slate.com, among many other publications. As Barbara Wilson, she is the author of Blue Windows: A Christian Science Childhood, the winner of a Lambda Literary Award and a finalist for the PEN USA award. She is also the author of two mystery series, one of which, featuring the translator-sleuth, Cassandra Reilly, takes place abroad, in Spain, Italy, Romania and other countries. Her Cassandra Reilly mystery, Gaudi Afternoon, won the British Crime Writers Award for best crime novel set in Europe, as well as a Lambda Literary Award. It was made into a film starring Judy Davis and is set in Barcelona. As Barbara Wilson, she is also the translator of several books from Norwegian, including Cora Sandel: Selected Short Stories, which won a Columbia Translation Award. She co-founded Seal Press in 1976 with Rachel da Silva, and was an editor and publisher there for eighteen years. She also founded the imprint and later the publishing house, Women in Translation, which published fiction in translation by women from around the world. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington.

Praise

“[Sjoholm] 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.” —Library Journal

“[Sjoholm] 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.” —Kirkus

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