Scandinavians: In search of the soul of the North by Robert Ferguson

by
September 2018, no. 404
Kári Gíslason reviews 'Scandinavians: In search of the soul of the North' by Robert Ferguson

Scandinavians: In search of the soul of the North

by Robert Ferguson

Overlook Press, $35 hb, 480 pp, 9781468314823

Scandinavians: In search of the soul of the North by Robert Ferguson

by
September 2018, no. 404

When I was twenty-seven, I visited mainland Scandinavia for the first time. I had spent the last of my travel money on a rail pass, and I was on a tight budget. One day, I thought I would save some money on accommodation by catching an overnight train from Stockholm to Trondheim. When I woke up the next morning, I disembarked and went for an aimless walk, but eventually I had to ask for directions. ‘I’m sorry,’ I said to the young woman I approached, ‘I don’t speak any Swedish.’ ‘That’s okay,’ she answered, ‘nor do I. This is Norway.’ Failing to realise that I had arrived in a new country may seem odd. But I had been asleep as we crossed the border, and although I was now looking at the Norwegian Sea and no longer the Baltic, both bodies of water reflected the early winter light just as brilliantly, and both towns seemed as perfectly Scandinavian: prosperous, calm, and pretty.

Kári Gíslason reviews 'Scandinavians: In search of the soul of the North' by Robert Ferguson

Scandinavians: In search of the soul of the North

by Robert Ferguson

Overlook Press, $35 hb, 480 pp, 9781468314823

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comment (1)

  • I have tried to work out why I found this book so hard to read and enjoy. It has some interesting stories in it. He likes his subject.
    I think it is because he introduces the interesting stories by consistently telling information about himself. And he wants so much for his readers to be influenced by his deliberations on life. He ends up writing a form of conceit. To do this he creates straw man after straw man. I couldn’t trust his characterisations of other people or their beliefs.
    I bought the book to find out about Scandanavia and am disappointed the author only really wanted to write about himself.
    Posted by Lindsay Paull
    10 August 2020

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