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The Tricking of Freya: A Novel Paperback – March 30, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Packed with delectable relationships and family secrets . . . We come away charmed, moved, and larger within, having toured a hidden world with a passionate guide.” ―Joan Frank, San Francisco Chronicle

“An intricate family travelogue...This grand coming-of-age-novel boasts a dynamic set of characters and a rich bank of cultural and personal lore, making this dark, cold family tale a surprisingly lush experience.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Sparkles with the author's love of language and of her own Icelandic culture. The book's masterfully told final mysteries reveal themselves as magically as darkroom images appearing under the light.” ―More magazine

“An impressive debut . . . This novel works on several levels: as a drama of family dynamics; as an immigrant story; and as a showcase for the author's broad and deep knowledge of Iceland.” ―Mary Ann Gwinn, The Seattle Times

“An excellent debut . . . If all you know about Iceland is failed banks and Bjork, this is a highly readable introduction.” ―Yvonne Zipp, The Christian Science Monitor

“[An] amazing debut...Like the famed poet within, Sunley's writing is truly poetic. She brings here settings alive in a way that will make you believe that you have been there and experienced it all yourself.” ―BookBitch.com

“Epic... Sunley's research shines through in a story in which the landscape of Iceland is as much a character as Freya, making this an exceptional and unique coming-of-age novel. ” ―Washington State Journal

“Irresistible...smoldering emotions in a cold climate.” ―Telegraph Herald

About the Author

CHRISTINA SUNLEY grew up hearing stories about her Icelandic grandparents and the massive emigration that followed a 19th century volcanic eruption. She has visited Iceland for extended stays to research and write this novel. Her short fiction has appeared in literary journals, and she has taught memoir writing and fiction at universities. She now lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031242938X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312429386
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Sullivan VINE VOICE on February 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If, by chance, you are interested in Iceland then this book will reach out, grab your heart and keep your interest for hours. A mother, sister, Grandmother, and friend join forces in the raising of Freya. A young girl, clumsy and eager, visits Canadian Gimli with her mother. Over many years, the story unwinds, with surprising twists and turns that create a story where an underlayment of Icelandic history becomes a foundation for growth.

I completely loved this book. I am Scotch-Irish and still found myself totally involved in the characters, their intertwined relationships, and the link of Icelandic culture, language, and geography. In the telling of the tale, this author intertwines geneology, cultural paradigms, and the awkwardness of teenage social acceptability regardless of culture.

If you are interested in stretching your horizons through an excellent read, learning about Icelandic culture, and the link between countries and cultures, then this book is an excellent adventure betwixt your ears.

History being what it is, I gained a depth of understanding of the culture of Iceland that I never would have acquired watching the news. Perhaps readers of today are ready to stretch their horizons, adventure beyond the comforts of home and dive into a book that will draw in their hearts, their dreams and broaden their horizons as well.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It took me a while to get "into" this novel. The writing style is a bit convoluted, in that the author strives to include lots of Icelandic lore and words. Nothing wrong with that, but the words in particular tend to cause speed-bumps in the reading process.

However, I still rated this novel with five stars. The character development is excellent, the mystery (although slow to unfold), is very good. The ending is a bit predictable (I saw it at least two chapters before it was revealed), but overall the book is very satisfying.

At first I wasn't enthused about the author's use of the reader as a "cousin", but as time went on I got used to it - although it seemed a bit contrived, even to the end of the book. The literary device just seemed to cause me to pause in my reading; I suppose it is because just being CALLED cousin doesn't make the reader seem like a relative, and to me the book didn't draw the reader in from that aspect.

The descriptions of Iceland are very good, and I got a good feel for the immigrant culture.

There are a few adult moments in the book, but it should be fine for early teenagers and older. I think it would be confusing for younger children.

I recommend this book for people who are interested in Iceland, Icelandic traditions and culture, and those who want a slowly unfolding mystery.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love Iceland. I find it a magical island with some of the most polite people I have met. So, when I had the opportunity to read this book I jumped at it.

The book did not disappoint. Although there were times it seemed like the author had a list of Icelandic cultural information that she forced into a short passage, on the whole it is a very realistic and interesting look at the land and culture.

Although Iceland features prominently in the book, this is way more than just a book about Iceland. "The Tricking of Freya" is primarily about family dynamics and family secrets. Bi-polar illness is prominently featured. Readers who had been fortunate enough to not been exposed to this disorder will find this book a realistic look at the nerve-racking world of those who love someone suffering from the disease.

Excellent book on many levels. Recommended, especially for fellow Iceland lovers.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THE TRICKING OF FREYA by Christina Sunley is an exquisite book that came highly recommended, but it too me several years to actually read it. When I was in Iceland, the playwright Hline suggested it, and I bought it. The cover was intriguing--a goddess or child floating in glacial waters that would kill a mere mortal in seconds. But the book stayed in the pile as I was distracted by murder mysteries, scientific books on genetics, statistics, and sand, collections of French poetry, and more. I'm not a disciplined reader. But one wintry afternoon last week, THE TRICKING OF FREYA rose to the top.
And I'm glad it did. Set partially in a realistically drawn Iceland, much of the action is in an even more obscure setting--the Icelandic diaspora in Canada. A little known immigrant group, Icelanders fled a 19th century volcanic holocaust that destroyed farmland. The heroine of the novel, Freya, named for the Norse goddess, is raised partially in the U.S. and partially in the Canadian/Icelandic town of Gimli. When her aunt Birdie kidnaps her the plot is off and running--to Iceland, to a search for Birdie's lost child, and to a quest for self understanding.
The rich language and literature of Iceland plays its own part. In what other archaic poems are there literally a thousand ways to say sword? The characters here are often poets or scholars, drunk on words, inebriated even to the point of mania. Manic depression is a haunting motif, an illness that haunts even characters in the sagas.
The novel is beautifully plotted and described. It treads a path between the literary and the just plain readable. And it was an inexpensive way for me to re-visit Iceland!(To see more on Icelandic writing, visit Miriam's Well blog, [...]
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