The End of Drum-Time is partially about a preacher’s daughter who falls in love with a Sámi reindeer herder. It is also partially about the encroachments of religion and national politics into the Sámi way of life, and partially about the choices people make when they feel even the best choice is not right at all.
Most importantly, it is a beautifully written book. I would say it was achingly beautiful if that phrase weren’t both overused (partially by me) and not entirely accurate. There is yearning in the book, and a great deal of pain, but for the most part the tone was wintery, as cold and beautiful as the Scandinavian snow.
I knew little about the Sámi when I began the book, so I can’t speak to its accuracy. The details are beautifully rendered, though, and at no point did it feel like I was reading a textbook, as can too easily happen in historical fiction. I highly recommend this book and encourage people not to give up if the tone is not to their taste at first. It wound up being one of the most beautiful books I’ve read this year.