Tiden Norsk Forlag 2008 (Norway)

 

Denmark:  C&K Forlag

France:  Grasset & Fasquelle

Germany:  Hoffman und Campe Verlag

Iceland:  Uppheimar Utgafan

Italy:  Einaudi Stile Libero

Netherlands:  Ambo|Anthos

United States: University of Minnesota Press

 

Awards

Riverton Prize for the Best Norwegian Crime Novel of 2008

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Other Books by Vidar Sundstøl

The Land of Dreams

Author: Vidar Sundstøl

A sweeping chronicle of several generations, a portrait of a landscape, and a novel about migration: it is also the story of two murders that occur over a hundred years apart. It is immediately clear both murders are connected the large Norwegian immigrant population living on the northern shores of Lake Superior in Minnesota, Cook County. Lance Hansen — a US forestry police officer of Scandinavian descent — finds a Norwegian tourist brutally murdered next to a large stone cross on the shore of Lake Superior. FBI agent Bob Lecuyer is put on the case, along with Norwegian detective Eirik Nyland sent over from Norway.

The investigation soon leads the detectives towards the local Ojibway Indian population, after forensic evidence shows that only someone of Indian descent can be the perpetrator. At the same time, Lance Hansen makes a shocking discovery about his own family’s past; a discovery that means that the investigation could point to a completely different suspect, someone much closer to home than he could ever have imagined.

The Land of Dreams


Kirkus (starred review):

The first of Sundstøl’s Minnesota trilogy to be published in the U.S. is literate, lyrically descriptive and mystical. The next can’t come too soon.

 

Publishers Weekly (starred review):

Norwegian crime novelist Sundstøl's stellar psychological thriller, the first in his Minnesota Trilogy, stunningly evokes the North Shore of Lake Superior and its people—Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish settlers, as well as Objibway Native Americans. Nunnally's convincing translation helps bring it all to unforgettable life.

 

Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times:

What wonders there are in America's own backyard, if we only think to look. That's what the Norwegian writer Vidar Sundstol does in The Land of Dreams, a murder mystery translated by Tiina Nunnally and set against the harsh landscape of the Lake Superior shore. This region was settled by hardy Scandinavian pioneers, and Lance Hansen, a police officer who works for the United States Forest Service, is proud to be descended from such stout stock. ("What dreams those people must have had.") But the murder of a Norwegian tourist shocks him into thinking about other victims and other acts of violence that might have been lost to history. There's a wintry bleakness to Hansen's brooding about the past, which is more interesting than the case he's working and more compatible with the austere setting. Hansen is a good cop and a decent man, but the extraordinary choice he opts for at the novel's end makes it certain that he'll not be having pleasant dreams for a very long time.

 

Minneapolis Star Tribune:

The remains of a wharf’s stone pilings protrude from Lake Superior “like the vertebrae of a broken spine, as if just below the surface there might be the skeleton of some huge ancient monster.”

This striking description in the opening pages of The Land of Dreams, an engrossing mystery that’s the first in Norwegian writer Vidar Sundstøl’s Minnesota Trilogy, foreshadows the novel’s most gripping theme: that history can be like an “ancient monster” hiding, waiting, unseen and unspoken, until a storm exposes it — and then we must confront that which we’ve silenced, ignored or simply forgotten.

 

Scandinavian Crime Fiction:

The Land of Dreams, beautifully translated by Tiinna Nunnally, is an evocative novel that draws together past and present, the lives of immigrants and the indigenous inhabitants of the North Shore, American dreams and suppressed violence hidden behind calm exteriors and polite silences. 

I'm not surprised that it was awarded the Riverton Prize. It's a very good book. I admit that I particularly enjoyed a setting that is familiar to me – just a few weeks ago we traveled to the places where the story is set. Even if you haven't been to the North Shore, this book will provide you with an interesting journey. The only problem is that you'll want to return as soon as possible, as there is obviously more to the story.

 

Books and Movies and Crap:

The Land of Dreams is a gem, a taut mystery with relaxed pacing and access to the very depths of its characters' souls.

The Land of Dreams is beautifully written. The descriptions of the ancient forests, rivers, and Lake Superior itself transported me to this small town: the sites, the smells, the giddy danger of a summer thunderstorm.

When a novel is written in a foreign language, the reader is largely at the translator’s mercy. With The Land of Dreams, Tiina Nunnally does a splendid job taking Sundstrøl’s writing, and translating it into natural, descriptive English. The Land of Dreams is as smooth a read as if it were originally written by a skilled, insightful English-language author. Her work is commendable.

My only complaint is that I have to wait till Fall 2014 to read book two.

The Land of Dreams isn’t like what I call the “supermarket thrillers,” those superstar novels crammed onto a display rack alongside razor blades and denture adhesive. It’s one to savor and enjoy, like a good cognac—something real and warm in a generic light beer world.

 Most Highly Recommended.

 

Praise from Norway

 

Bergens Tidernde:

The first book in Sundstøl's crime trilogy from Minnesota is dark, powerful and eerily good! ... when, in addition, the scenery, landscape and the portrayal of the American countryside is fully compatible with Annie Proulx's stories from Wyoming, it is time to hail the trilogy signed Vidar Sundstøl.

 

Dagbladet:

His new book, a powerful tale of a murder in Minnesota, is in a class of its own ... this is an amazing novel, regardless of genre.

 

NRK:

It is fiction, but reads almost like a true account ... it is brilliantly plotted. I can guarantee that I will read the coming books

 

Dagsavisen:

Drømmenes Land ... makes me long for the rest of the trilogy.

 

Aftenposten:

Very good. The first book in the trilogy bodes very well for the following novels.