Book Review: Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name

Category: Book Reviews

Her Mother disappeared when she was fourteen years old and now that the man she thought was her father is dead, Clarissa begins pulling on the threads that unravel the open secrets of her past.

First, let me say that I read this book in an afternoon and later,while cooking dinner, wondered if I dreamed it. I seldom read a book in an afternoon. Even on a snowy winter Sunday afternoon, the perfect sort for this book. I usually find myself distracted after a period of time by all the important, useful things I should be doing. Not this time, a tribute to the seamlessness of the story and the author’s skillful use of short poetic numbered sections within four larger chapters. The view from the middle of part twelve, into the beginning of part thirteen on the next page, lulled me into a sense of better-take-a-break-now safety. I knew all along that I could read “just two more pages”, or “till the end of this chapter”, by which point I was caught up in the story again, lost in my sofa and turning page after page.

I think the author was able to achieve the dream-like feeling in her novel through the inclusion of random details that don’t immediately bear upon the story and yet allow it’s vital details to shimmer through. The section in which Olivia takes Clarissa and Jeremy to visit her friend Fern or the day she gives Clarissa her earrings are both good examples. We never hear about Fern again, but in both instances we glimpse Olivia’s vivid second-life, the one that belongs to her alone and is never shared with her husband.

I thoroughly enjoyed Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name. It is the type of novel that I return to, dissect, and learn from.