To Cook a Bear

I recently read the outstanding novel, To Cook a Bear, written by Mikael Niemi. It is more brutal and gruesome than the books I typically read, but it blends detective mystery around Lars Levi Laestadius, a revivalist pastor leading a movement in the arctic circle in the 1850s.

It involved the Sami people who have lived in the northern areas of Finland, Denmark, and Norway for far longer than those nations have existed. Their struggle, forced assimilation, and interaction with continental European culture called to mind similar colonization efforts happening in the middle and late 19th century, especially that of the American Indian in the mountain west, the Ainu people in Hokkaido, and a number of groups such as the Zulu in South Africa.

There are so many more stories like this to be told as the dust settles on history that isn’t so far away.

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