“I don’t think a person ever stops longing for the place where they belong.
No matter who we become or where we end up, our hearts have a root.”
Máriddja has just been told that she doesn’t have long to live. The eccentric 85-year-old woman accepts her fate with furious resignation and quickly moves on to more important matters: how to keep her condition from her husband Biera, who is slipping into dementia. Traditionally, Sami families are large and those who come after are supposed to care for their elders. But Máriddja and Biera were never blessed with little ones. There was once a boy whom they loved above all else, but he was taken from them. Where is little Heaika-Joná now?
The newly engaged couple Kaj and Mimmi has recently relocated to a small village in the north of Sweden after the death of Kaj’s mother, the enigmatic Laura. Laura took the secret of Kaj’s father’s identity to her grave, and while Mimmi longs to start a family of their own, Kaj feels lost not knowing where he comes from. When Kaj finds a curious box of Sami handicrafts that his mother left him, an improbable chain of events is set in motion that will ultimately lead him to a life-altering discovery…
Meanwhile, Biera worries that Máriddja has lost her marbles. She talks to herself, sends inappropriate messages to their neighbors, and burns letters from the authorities. But Máriddja is busy making arrangements. Refusing to have Biera institutionalized, she’s determined to find Heaika-Joná so that he can return and care for his own. Biera is considered a Sami clairvoyant and Máriddja decides to follow the lead of something he once told her: that their boy is alive and wearing a uniform. Together with her new confidant Siré, an operator in the incomprehensible new phone-machine-device, she cooks up a plan to lure men in uniform to their home – a plan that involves setting fire to the barn, and shooting a moose…
With Those Who Sow in Snow, debut writer Tina Harnesk spins a tall tale that shifts seamlessly between laugh-out loud humor and profound depictions of what it means to love and lose within a family. With fantastic twists and turns, an unforgettable cast of colorful characters and a singular lyrical style, this glimmering debut novel is as broad as it is deep.
“This is a story about how life is brought to a head under constraining circumstances such as terminal illness, exercise of authority, and domestic violence. The language is bombastic and lyrical, but above all filled with ruthless humour. Máriddja is an unforgettable character; it is her voice that gives the text its tone. Like an ageing Sami Loranga she is the master of her house and never hesitates to defend her own independence. […] An impressive debut.”
“It is so beautiful, the voice that carries Those Who Sow in Snow. And when was the last time an author tackled the chaos of existence with such joy in every accuracy? Tina Harnesk doesn’t devote herself to Swedish realism, thank goodness – her novel is busy being alive for real.”
Thomas Engström, Author