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The End of Drum-Time: A Novel by Hanna…
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The End of Drum-Time: A Novel (edition 2023)

by Hanna Pylväinen (Author)

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15720177,404 (4.09)11
"In 1851, at a remote village in the Scandinavian tundra, a Lutheran minister known as Mad Lasse tries in vain to convert the native Sámi reindeer herders to his faith. But when one of the most respected herders has a dramatic awakening and dedicates his life to the church, his impetuous son, Ivvár, is left to guard their diminishing herd alone. By chance, he meets Mad Lasse's daughter Willa, and their blossoming infatuation grows into something that ultimately crosses borders-of cultures, of beliefs, and of political divides-as Willa follows the herders on their arduous annual migration north to the sea. Gorgeously written and sweeping in scope, The End of Drum-Time immerses readers in a world lit by the northern lights, steeped in age-old rituals, and guided by passions that transcend place and time"--… (more)
Member:rochesterplvt
Title:The End of Drum-Time: A Novel
Authors:Hanna Pylväinen (Author)
Info:Macmillan (2023), 368 pages
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The End of Drum-Time by Hanna Pylväinen

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A unique setting and time developed wonderfully by an author at the top of the game. The novel takes place in Scandinavia roughly two hundred years ago. It features the growing conflict between the newer Christian settlers and the indigenous Sami and their pagan beliefs..Pylvainen is a master of character development and that drives the plot and the struggles the people endure. I learned so much about Nordic culture of that time which was an added bonus. This is beautifully written sensitive portrayal of a way of life struggling to survive. ( )
  muddyboy | Apr 14, 2024 |
Hanna Pylväinen's one line description of her books is "Love versus the forces of religious colonialism."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6VXpucFtlA ( )
  Citizenjoyce | Mar 2, 2024 |
A powerful evocation of an episode of Scandinavian history little known to Americans. Vivid characters and stunningly beautiful descriptions of the land above the Arctic Circle give the book a cinematic charge. Pylvänien’s fact-based depiction of a charismatic Lutheran pastor is an uncomfortable reminder of modern Evangelical excess. ( )
  LarryBliss | Jan 9, 2024 |
I listed to this book on Audible.

This novel is a love story and small town drama set in 19th century Scandinavia as the Christian settlers/missionaries mingle and clash with the reindeer-herding Sami people. It did take a bit of effort and re-listening to untangle the characters names which were foreign (to my ear). But once that challenge was overcome, I enjoyed the book. The writing style is peculiar and well-suited to the measured pace of the plot and the characters lives. Give it time and see how, as the plot thickens, some characters can't keep pace with it. I found it very interesting. Overall it was a nice read, very atmospheric and set in a time and place that I knew little about. Recommended for the patient reader. ( )
  technodiabla | Oct 26, 2023 |
This is another book about settlers imposing their religion, values, and laws on Indigenous peoples. This one is set in the mid-19th century in northern Scandinavia.

Lars Levi Laestadius is a preacher in a small town near the Arctic Circle. His goal is to convert the Sámi reindeer herders and their families to Christianity and to break their dependence on alcohol. Biettar, a leader among the Sámi experiences a religious awakening and leaves his diminished herd to his son Ivvár. Abandoned and angry, Ivvár comes more frequently into town to purchase alcohol. He encounters Willa, one of the preacher’s daughters, and the two start a romantic relationship. She eventually breaks ties with her family to join Ivvár as the Sámi go on their annual spring migration from the tundra to the sea.

This book combines several genres. It is historical fiction, though Lars Levi Laestadius was a real person: a Swedish Sámi pastor, he founded the Laestadian pietist revival movement to help his largely Sámi congregations who were being ravaged by alcoholism. It includes a romance, a love affair which seems ill-fated because Ivvár and Willa come from different cultures. And there’s the social commentary highlighting the struggles of the Sámi in the face of colonization.

I felt a sense of foreboding throughout. A clash is inevitable. Revered by his followers, Laestadius’ spiritual awakenings make some people uncomfortable. Ivvár, for instance, cannot understand his father’s behaviour, especially because he was a noaidi and guvhllár, a shaman and a healer. Authorities in the south also become concerned about Laestadius’ radical Christian ethics and morals. And the arrival of the dean of the diocese creates more tension as he insists Laestadius cease his temperance teachings and attempts to collect debts from the Sámi, debts owed to the dean’s nephew who manages the general store.

Earlier this year, I read Stolen by Ann-Helén Laestadius which taught me a great deal about Sámi culture (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/2023/02/review-of-stolen-by-ann-helen.html). The End of Drum-Time certainly added to my knowledge. I found myself thoroughly fascinated. Some characters view the Sámi as primitive, but the author shows how their way of life is perfectly suited to the extreme environment in which they make their home. Nomadic, they live in harmony with the world around them, their lives largely determined by the reindeer's natural migration and the reindeer owner's tasks during a year. Reindeer, for the Sámi, are “life itself,” as emphasized by the Sámi proverb which opens the book: “Let the reindeer decide.”

As with Canada’s First Nations, the Sámi and their way of life were constantly under threat. Settlers built farms so the Sámi could not let their reindeer graze freely as they had for generations and had to change their migration route. Settlers introduced alcohol and entire communities were wrecked by alcoholism: “the settlers of the region from every parentage and path drank at very similar rates to the Sámi; the great difference was that the Sámi were more likely to be punished for their drinking by the authorities, and, moreover, the consequences of drinking were greater for the Sámi because the demands of their life were greater.” The concept of buying on credit was also introduced. Then when Sámi could not pay, the setters imposed legal consequences.

The style of the book may be off-putting for some readers. The pace, especially at the beginning, is very slow. Instead of being presented with an action-filled plot, the reader is immersed in Sámi culture and the minds of various characters - including Laestadius; Biettar; Ivvár; Willa; Risten, the daughter of a prosperous herder; Nora, Willa’s sister; and Henrik, the manager of the general store. (Of course, this immersion proves to be important if the reader is to fully understand characters’ motivations. Presenting the perspectives of various characters - settlers as well as Sámi, and people with different views of religion - adds breadth to the narrative.) In addition, sentences tend to be long and winding and there are frequent shifts in point of view, often in the middle of paragraphs.

I had problems with a couple of elements. Most of the characters are fully developed so we see their positive traits and their flaws that make them human. Unfortunately, a villain is introduced late in the story who appears almost cartoonishly evil. I also found Ivvár difficult to like. Women tend to fall for him, but I don’t see the appeal. He is very handsome, but his treatment of women suggests he is self-centered and selfish. Given Willa’s upbringing, her choices are definitely out of character, as she herself acknowledges.

Despite these weaknesses, this book is definitely worth reading.

Note: Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/) and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski). ( )
1 vote Schatje | Aug 21, 2023 |
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"In 1851, at a remote village in the Scandinavian tundra, a Lutheran minister known as Mad Lasse tries in vain to convert the native Sámi reindeer herders to his faith. But when one of the most respected herders has a dramatic awakening and dedicates his life to the church, his impetuous son, Ivvár, is left to guard their diminishing herd alone. By chance, he meets Mad Lasse's daughter Willa, and their blossoming infatuation grows into something that ultimately crosses borders-of cultures, of beliefs, and of political divides-as Willa follows the herders on their arduous annual migration north to the sea. Gorgeously written and sweeping in scope, The End of Drum-Time immerses readers in a world lit by the northern lights, steeped in age-old rituals, and guided by passions that transcend place and time"--

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