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Heiða - fjalldalabóndinn

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Hvað rekur unga konu til að gerast sauðfjárbóndi úr alfaraleið í stað þess að verða fyrirsæta í New York? Keppa í rúningi og stunda fósturtalningar í kindum stað þess að drekka í sig stórborgarlífið og slá í gegn á síðum glanstímarita? Heiða er sannkallað náttúrubarn og er einyrki á Ljótárstöðum sem er efsti bær í Skaftártungu. Jafnframt því að sinna fimm hundruð frjá hefu Hvað rekur unga konu til að gerast sauðfjárbóndi úr alfaraleið í stað þess að verða fyrirsæta í New York? Keppa í rúningi og stunda fósturtalningar í kindum stað þess að drekka í sig stórborgarlífið og slá í gegn á síðum glanstímarita? Heiða er sannkallað náttúrubarn og er einyrki á Ljótárstöðum sem er efsti bær í Skaftártungu. Jafnframt því að sinna fimm hundruð frjá hefur hún barist fyrir tilveru sinni og sveitarinnar fyrir autan – varið landið – svo öllu verði ekki fórnað fyrir fáein megawött; gljúfri, besta beitarlandinu – þar sem fyrst grær á vorin. Í þessari stórmerkilegu bók dregur Steinunn Sigurðardóttir upp áhrifamikla mynd af sérstæðri kvenhetju. Hér njóta sín allir helstu kostir Steinunnar sem rithöfundar; ísmeygileg kímni, leiftrandi stílgáfa, djúpt innsæi – og ást á landinu.


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Hvað rekur unga konu til að gerast sauðfjárbóndi úr alfaraleið í stað þess að verða fyrirsæta í New York? Keppa í rúningi og stunda fósturtalningar í kindum stað þess að drekka í sig stórborgarlífið og slá í gegn á síðum glanstímarita? Heiða er sannkallað náttúrubarn og er einyrki á Ljótárstöðum sem er efsti bær í Skaftártungu. Jafnframt því að sinna fimm hundruð frjá hefu Hvað rekur unga konu til að gerast sauðfjárbóndi úr alfaraleið í stað þess að verða fyrirsæta í New York? Keppa í rúningi og stunda fósturtalningar í kindum stað þess að drekka í sig stórborgarlífið og slá í gegn á síðum glanstímarita? Heiða er sannkallað náttúrubarn og er einyrki á Ljótárstöðum sem er efsti bær í Skaftártungu. Jafnframt því að sinna fimm hundruð frjá hefur hún barist fyrir tilveru sinni og sveitarinnar fyrir autan – varið landið – svo öllu verði ekki fórnað fyrir fáein megawött; gljúfri, besta beitarlandinu – þar sem fyrst grær á vorin. Í þessari stórmerkilegu bók dregur Steinunn Sigurðardóttir upp áhrifamikla mynd af sérstæðri kvenhetju. Hér njóta sín allir helstu kostir Steinunnar sem rithöfundar; ísmeygileg kímni, leiftrandi stílgáfa, djúpt innsæi – og ást á landinu.

30 review for Heiða - fjalldalabóndinn

  1. 4 out of 5

    Thebooktrail

    Visit the locations in the memoir I’m on a role at the moment with books about fascinating people and how they live and their passion and endurance in times of trouble. This lady is my new heroine. I love books and TV shows about Iceland and have many Icelandic friends now through the book world which makes my urge to go there even stronger. How I would love to go and visit Heiða! I always think people who live in such remote locations have that sense of poetry about them and this lady does an Visit the locations in the memoir I’m on a role at the moment with books about fascinating people and how they live and their passion and endurance in times of trouble. This lady is my new heroine. I love books and TV shows about Iceland and have many Icelandic friends now through the book world which makes my urge to go there even stronger. How I would love to go and visit Heiða! I always think people who live in such remote locations have that sense of poetry about them and this lady does and more! From the start I was curious as to why someone, especially a model from New York, want to return to iceland and live on a farm. Her story about her father is heartbreaking and her endurance and sense of duty admirable Her passion for the farm and her way of life comes through loud and clear. She loves her land and her world, so when it’s threatened by power companies and corporate bullies, she stand for now nonsense and races forth into battle. Certain scenes wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of Game of Thrones for the battles of David and Goliath that ensue. On a more day to day level, that’s when the story of this lady and the farm really shone for me. It’s a hard life and she makes no bones about it. The weather is an enemy, as is the soil. The very remoteness she loves is a problem when there’s no one else to help or rescue a situation. This is the beauty of the book though as you get to see, experience and feel the farm, the weather, the everyday routines that are so demanding yet rewarding at the same time. Although written by the Icelandic novelist Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, it’s Heiða’s distinctive voice that comes through and it’s as if you’re talking to her in her kitchen, laughing at her humour, marvelling at her plainspeaking and warming to her inspirational touch. If ever you’re down, or feel a challenge is too big, talk to Heiða. It’s a book about so much – conservation, yearning for a simpler life, and protecting what you love and fighting for what’s yours.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I was offered a proof copy by the publisher on Twitter. I read the first 53 pages. I’d read three other sheep-herding memoirs in the past year and thought it would be interesting to hear from a female Icelandic shepherd who was a model before taking over her family farm and then reluctantly went into politics to try to block a hydroelectric power station on her land. Unfortunately, though, the book is scattered and barely competently written. It doesn’t help that the proof is error-strewn. [This I was offered a proof copy by the publisher on Twitter. I read the first 53 pages. I’d read three other sheep-herding memoirs in the past year and thought it would be interesting to hear from a female Icelandic shepherd who was a model before taking over her family farm and then reluctantly went into politics to try to block a hydroelectric power station on her land. Unfortunately, though, the book is scattered and barely competently written. It doesn’t help that the proof is error-strewn. [This mini-review has been corrected to reflect the fact that, unlike what is printed on the proof copy, the sole author is Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, who has written the book as if from Heiða Ásgeirsdóttir’s perspective.]

  3. 5 out of 5

    Catalina

    The synopsis on which I based my request(on NetGalley) to read this(months before publication) was somewhat misleading. I thought I was going to read a book about nature, about the passage of seasons and how it impacts and changes nature, more poetry or more poetic language, if you like. But turns out I've read a memoir of sorts and while I did see the passage of seasons, it was centered on a single character and her life as a sheep farmer in Iceland. Poetry was scarce and for some reason, it wa The synopsis on which I based my request(on NetGalley) to read this(months before publication) was somewhat misleading. I thought I was going to read a book about nature, about the passage of seasons and how it impacts and changes nature, more poetry or more poetic language, if you like. But turns out I've read a memoir of sorts and while I did see the passage of seasons, it was centered on a single character and her life as a sheep farmer in Iceland. Poetry was scarce and for some reason, it wasn't even that poetic... That being said, I did get some enjoyment from reading this: it was interesting to read about the ins and outs of sheep farming, even if I cannot say I am actually interested in the subject. Impressive how strong a character Heida was(is?). The amount of work she was willing to do was really inspirational. (even if did get annoyed with comments like: 'I can do this because no one told me I couldn't do it'. Well Heida darling no one told me I couldn't do sheep farming either yet I am not doing it, and I will say I cannot do it, but that's not because someone told me I couldn't and I am so weak as to believe anyone who tells me stuff, but because I know myself too well and I know I would never want such a job for myself(eye roll). But at the same time I liked that she wasn't apologetic about the fact she's single and she doesn't want to have children, as each women should be! Stand up for yourself and what you believe in! ) My rating reflects the fact that, despite the enjoyment, a lot of stuff went wrong. Firstly: the writing style was very simplistic and unsatisfactory. If I would keep a diary it will be pretty much written as this book, and I am no author!! Secondly I suspect the translation wasn't the best. It wasn't flowing and the so called poetry, while really scarce, was missing rhythm...The story line was a bit jumpy: snippets of different things without a particular pattern. But I guess the worst is that we had no in depth view of anything. Just general lines of her work as a farmer in different seasons, just bits of her fight against the power plant, and even less of "portrait of a remote life close to nature." as let's be honest here: she was totally enjoying the perks of modern life: machinery, cars, internet etc

  4. 5 out of 5

    Neil

    I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. Although this was a fascinating insight into sheep farming out in the wilds of Iceland overall it was let down by the rest of the story away from the wilds. It left me disappointed as a whole.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Fern Adams

    Heida is a sheep farmer in rural Iceland. The book gives anecdotes of her life, work and surroundings and there really is a bit of everything in there. From growing up and attending boarding school, a brief modelling career, to all about sheep, lambing and spending hours in a tractor. Issues around politics, ecology and businesses buying up land and displacing farmers are also all addressed. I really enjoyed reading this and learned a lot from the pages. Heida is an excellent role model- she kn Heida is a sheep farmer in rural Iceland. The book gives anecdotes of her life, work and surroundings and there really is a bit of everything in there. From growing up and attending boarding school, a brief modelling career, to all about sheep, lambing and spending hours in a tractor. Issues around politics, ecology and businesses buying up land and displacing farmers are also all addressed. I really enjoyed reading this and learned a lot from the pages. Heida is an excellent role model- she knows what she wants and thinks and is definitely a go getter. In many ways this was a refreshing and wholesome read because it felt so genuine and honest. Reading it I almost forgot it was a book at all as it felt more like listening to a conversation. I particularly liked the sheep names! I suspect this is going to be a popular book. Only thing that would have improved it would have been a pronunciation guide at the end. There are some brilliant words and place names which I have no idea how to say but would like to. Thanks to Netgalley and John Murray Press for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Clare O'Beara

    I enjoyed this read, which immerses us in the lifestyle of an Icelandic sheep farmer. Several times through the memoir Heida tells us she did not see why she needed a husband in order to be a farmer. Well, she didn't, but life is exhausting and work unending, and she does need help for many tasks so she is lucky to have good friends or neighbours. Even to have someone to bottle feed lambs during lambing. I would suggest - as a self employed tree surgeon - that a husband is actually a very useful I enjoyed this read, which immerses us in the lifestyle of an Icelandic sheep farmer. Several times through the memoir Heida tells us she did not see why she needed a husband in order to be a farmer. Well, she didn't, but life is exhausting and work unending, and she does need help for many tasks so she is lucky to have good friends or neighbours. Even to have someone to bottle feed lambs during lambing. I would suggest - as a self employed tree surgeon - that a husband is actually a very useful person to have around, and can help with paperwork and accounts or be a spare pair of hands, take phone calls and write mails so the tractor driving doesn't have to be done simultaneously, or cook great meals; and if they are also a sheep farmer, well the freed up time can allow for a second income stream. And then there's the moral support. The farm is steeply sloped on the side of the volcano Katla, long overdue for its periodic eruption. Despite this a power generating firm tries to buy up the valley to construct a reservoir to generate power. I had thought Iceland ran on geothermal and had the cheapest power in the world, so I can't see how this would make them money in short or long term. (Maybe they were just in it for grant money?) We don't get a single mention of geothermal. Also, we are told several times of the environmental destruction the dam would create - but Heida never does nor asks for an ecological survey to discover exactly what species are on her land, and an ancient stand of woodland is almost unknown and barely mentioned. She mentions geese and the occasional bird she sees from her tractor; that is it for biodiversity. Her fight seems to be almost entirely about the beauty and usefulness of the heathland, good in themselves but not nearly enough to win. Especially as nobody but her ever gets to use her land. Community and tourist use would be an added value. The effort of fighting the power firm and the barrage of letters, emails and notices is woven through the story; Heida attends meetings and discovers meetings are being held to which she is not invited. She stands for local election and makes presentations, to overhear that some think she will get married and stop farming in a few years. (Again, if she was married to a farmer it would look more stable.) The book is well worth a read, though not for the squeamish, and it will make the reader aware of how sheep are raised (to a degree - Heida talks about pregnancy scanning but never mentions that sheep are given pregnancy hormone 'sponges' which is why they now have multiple births so often) and the intensive labour of livestock farming. The book is translated from the original, and I am guessing that und means and, because I spotted one und in the text. Short poems by Heida and others are included. I borrowed this book from the RDS Library. This is an unbiased review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    A Reader

    Whenever I have the opportunity to talk to a farmer, I am surprised to see that often see their land just as a productive resource, so farmers like Heiða, who are committed to their land and their way of living, is a constant fascination. For Heiða, land includes a lot more than just the productive function; it encompasses the concept of homeland, ancestors, the natural environment. It’s the water, the forests, the glaciers, and the volcanoes. Heiða, like other farmers, has a physical, social an Whenever I have the opportunity to talk to a farmer, I am surprised to see that often see their land just as a productive resource, so farmers like Heiða, who are committed to their land and their way of living, is a constant fascination. For Heiða, land includes a lot more than just the productive function; it encompasses the concept of homeland, ancestors, the natural environment. It’s the water, the forests, the glaciers, and the volcanoes. Heiða, like other farmers, has a physical, social and cultural connection with her land. Heiða is a shepherd. She farms alone on a wild and seemingly inhospitable place, in the south of Iceland. It’s so remote, although with the internet the world has become a small place now, that it’s known as the ‘End of the World.’ One of her closest neighbours is Katla, one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes, infamous for its large eruptions happening on average every 50-100 years. Heida: A Shepherd at the Edge of the World is not a memoir. It contains many biographical details, but it’s not a biography. It’s rather a diary-like record of a year in Heiða’s life, her commitment to the land, and to her 500 sheep, the daily struggles and her resistance at the construction of a huge power plant near her farm. Her struggle to defend the countryside, her own land and this hard but meaningful way of life, has cost Heiða an almost inhuman amount of effort and anxiety: “In these circumstances, I feel as if a knife has been thrust between my ribs-almost as if I am having a heart attack. Even know, just thinking about it, I get a stabbing pain in my chest and my shoulder muscles tense.” I loved the simplicity and the unpolished tone of the book. Heida is not just the story of a remarkable woman. It’s also the story of all these real women who stand on their own two feet and do it for themselves.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    Heida by Steinunn Sigurdardottir is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early February. Originally written in Icelandic in 2016 and by the seasons of the year, Heida protects the sanctity of her farmland from being taken over by a greedy, combative power plant. She's also fond of poetry, music, her dog, and her tractors. It's so very easy to look up to her and her steadfast nature & sageness, growing as a person, seeping herself in hard work, keeping involved in her community, always learning, Heida by Steinunn Sigurdardottir is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early February. Originally written in Icelandic in 2016 and by the seasons of the year, Heida protects the sanctity of her farmland from being taken over by a greedy, combative power plant. She's also fond of poetry, music, her dog, and her tractors. It's so very easy to look up to her and her steadfast nature & sageness, growing as a person, seeping herself in hard work, keeping involved in her community, always learning, and her reluctance to be involved in politics because its ennui would sap her spirit and keep her away from the farm. Most endearing of all, she makes what feels like exclusively farmer-known tasks to seem simple.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jemima Pett

    This is a fascinating account of Heida's life in the Icelandic uplands, her dedication to her farm, her animals and her friends and their lifestyle. Pulled into politics against her will, she managed to lead the fight against a bully-boy power station development which would have ruined her very livelihood, as well as her home and the surrounding countryside. I think this would be more difficult to read had I not visited Iceland last year, getting close to some of the places she describes, includ This is a fascinating account of Heida's life in the Icelandic uplands, her dedication to her farm, her animals and her friends and their lifestyle. Pulled into politics against her will, she managed to lead the fight against a bully-boy power station development which would have ruined her very livelihood, as well as her home and the surrounding countryside. I think this would be more difficult to read had I not visited Iceland last year, getting close to some of the places she describes, including the National Park where the power plant was planned. For someone without a basic feel for the language I think the names and place-names could be a distraction too far, since the story is presented in a rather disjointed and distracting fashion. I found some of the details and anecdotes repetitive, but that can add to the impact. The author wrote it on the basis of telephone interviews snatched at odd times in Heida's incredibly busy life. It's a 3.5 stars from me, really.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Aldred

    This is a review for an English translation of this book. I am addicted to farming programmes and find Iceland one of the most fascinating countries in the world, not only for its landscape but also how poetry and its creation is embedded into the very heart of its people. So when Heiða, a memoir about a young Icelandic farmer who pounds out poetry in the cab of her tractor, came up for review I couldn’t resist taking a look at it. This is a story of a woman’s life simply told. Although written by This is a review for an English translation of this book. I am addicted to farming programmes and find Iceland one of the most fascinating countries in the world, not only for its landscape but also how poetry and its creation is embedded into the very heart of its people. So when Heiða, a memoir about a young Icelandic farmer who pounds out poetry in the cab of her tractor, came up for review I couldn’t resist taking a look at it. This is a story of a woman’s life simply told. Although written by the Icelandic novelist Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, she has taken great care to keep Heiða’s distinctive voice sounding loud and clear throughout. It is a very intriguing voice because Heiða is a very interesting and independent woman. Living way out in what many might consider a wilderness, is a source of bounty for Heiða, both in terms of livestock, and soul-enrichment. Yet not everyone sees the land as passionately as Heiða,who has been born into it, living and breathing its landscape on a daily basis. It is Heiða’s passion for her way of life which means she has to lock horns with corporate giants to prevent an ecological devastation of her world.The David and Goliath battle that ensues, as a prominent power company manoeuvres to compulsorily purchase land for a power generating dam, is as nail-biting as any thriller or as epic a tale as any of The Sagas of the Icelanders. But woven within this drama is the day-to-day work on the farm, which can be demanding, relentless and heart-breaking as Heiða works to keep her livestock safe in an environment that can change from sun to freezing storms in a moment. What came through this plain-speaking young woman’s account of her life while fighting the utility giants, family tragedy and running her farm, was her incredible zest for life and the need to live it to the full. I hate using the word inspirational, but Heiða is that type of book and well worth a read for anyone with a passion for conservation or just wondering how to lift themselves above what seems to be the kind of life which might throw far too many challenges at them. Heiða was courtesy of John Murray Press via NetGalley.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cathryn

    I have this unlikely fantasy of having sheep one day. Not lots of them, just a half-a-dozen, in the garden. Obviously, not in my garden. Even if I was to take over all the shared grassed space around the building, I don't think it would be enough for more than one or two, which isn't ideal for a herd animal. Its beside a busy road, and would be stressful for them, and although the neighbours have been very accepting of my wee orchard, I think sheep might push their tolerance of eccentricity. So I I have this unlikely fantasy of having sheep one day. Not lots of them, just a half-a-dozen, in the garden. Obviously, not in my garden. Even if I was to take over all the shared grassed space around the building, I don't think it would be enough for more than one or two, which isn't ideal for a herd animal. Its beside a busy road, and would be stressful for them, and although the neighbours have been very accepting of my wee orchard, I think sheep might push their tolerance of eccentricity. So I content myself with the occasional book or film, and this caught my eye. Heida Asgeirsdottir is a sheep farmer, running a remote 6000ha station in rural Iceland. She became a public figure when a hydroelectric scheme threatened her land, and she lead the campaign to stop it. The book is more a diary of her day to day life than about the campaign, showing a very different way to be a modern European. She farms on her own, supporting and supported by a close-knit family and friends, composes poetry, moves her sheep to their summer pastures and back into their winter sheds, runs a pregnancy scanning business (for sheep) and deals with everything life throws at her over the course of the year. Its written in a plain, no-nonsense style, rather as I imagine Heida herself to be. That makes it an easy read, but often with sudden forays into depths of unexpected and fascinating detail. What does it feel like to make a mistake looking after an animal which means it has to be shot? Living with the fear of having to pay for repairs to expensive machinery? Dealing with being ill while having only 6 weeks to do your main income-producing work ? A problem is encountered, dealt with in a matter-of-fact way, and we're on to the next thing. This is not an easy life at all. It a good life tand this uplifting book shows us a strong, capable woman living on her own terms.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

    My thanks to John Murray for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Heida: A Shepherd at the Edge of the World’ by Steinunn Sigurðardóttir in exchange for an honest review. ‘Heida’ was originally published in Iceland in 2017 and became a bestseller. It has been translated into English by Phillip Roughton. In the foreword the author presents her subject, Heida Gudny Ásgeirsdóttir, and how she came to be fascinated by her story. She details the methods that she used to give Heida a voice while remaining invisib My thanks to John Murray for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Heida: A Shepherd at the Edge of the World’ by Steinunn Sigurðardóttir in exchange for an honest review. ‘Heida’ was originally published in Iceland in 2017 and became a bestseller. It has been translated into English by Phillip Roughton. In the foreword the author presents her subject, Heida Gudny Ásgeirsdóttir, and how she came to be fascinated by her story. She details the methods that she used to give Heida a voice while remaining invisible herself. Heida lives on Ljótarstaðir, a farm which has been occupied since the 12th Century, with her 500 sheep. In recent years she has become engaged in a campaign to halt the building of a power plant in her region that would have a devastating impact upon the local environment. Very much a loner she became politically active due to this. This biography/memoir is anecdotal and very stream of consciousness in style. As a result it jumps all over the place in Heida’s life though has a structure linked to the seasons. A number of Heida’s poems are scattered throughout the text. I was so a amused when in one section as Heida is sharing details about her candidacy and then suddenly “Jesus, there went a duck! I hope I haven’t driven over its nest. No, there it is. I missed it, thank goodness. I count eight eggs in the nest. There are birds here everywhere. I’m constantly moving snipe chicks out of the uncut grass. This candidacy...” I certainly was impressed by Heida, her fierce independence, quirky personality, compassion for animals and sense of connection to the land. She also doesn’t shy from sharing details of lambing and of times when she had to put her animals down. Sad but that is the reality of farm life. Although not a big reader of biographies or memoirs, I found Heida very relatable and felt that Sigurðardóttir did succeed in remaining invisible. It also provided an excellent account of life in rural Iceland.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pam Sartain

    Heida is a farmer in Iceland, in the highlands. She is a former model, and lives with her mother on the farm. It's a really interesting account of her life, giving you insight to what it really must be like to live up there, have 500 sheep with the lambing, shearing, scanning for pregnancies, and herding them in for the winter. All whilst living next to a volcano. This reads as a mix between diary, flow of consciousness and interview. There doesn't always seem to be a link between paragraphs, but Heida is a farmer in Iceland, in the highlands. She is a former model, and lives with her mother on the farm. It's a really interesting account of her life, giving you insight to what it really must be like to live up there, have 500 sheep with the lambing, shearing, scanning for pregnancies, and herding them in for the winter. All whilst living next to a volcano. This reads as a mix between diary, flow of consciousness and interview. There doesn't always seem to be a link between paragraphs, but it is a really interesting account of Heida trying to keep a hydro-electric dam from taking some of her land, and how she had to balance her farm with going in to politics. I did enjoy Heida, it's an enjoyable adventure to a completely different life, and one that I feel is very apt for January as Heida's life is so matter of fact and without unnecessary waste, which is what we often want in January! Heida was published on 18th April 2019, and is available to buy on Amazon and on Waterstones. I've found a link to where you can search for local bookshops, including independent! You can follow Steinunn Sigurðardóttir on Facebook, or through her website. If you're interested in other stories of women's lives, then here's some others I've reviewed: Three Women by Lisa Taddeo 🌟🌟🌟🌟 The Art of Love: The Romantic and Explosive Stories Behind Art's Greatest Couples by Kate Bryan and illustrations by Asli Yazan 🌟🌟🌟🌟 Furious Hours; Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 I was given this book for free in return for an unbiased review, so my thanks to NetGalley and to John Murray Press (the publishers) for this book. Check out my GoodReads profile to see more reviews!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Heida is a biographical story told in a stream of consciousness style during a year in the life of a small sheep farmer fighting against an increasingly profit driven impersonal progress-for-the-sake-of-progress machine. Originally published in 2016 in Iceland, this English translation is due out 31st March 2020 from Hatchette on their Quercus imprint, it's 320 pages and will be available in hardcover format. (Other editions available in other Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Heida is a biographical story told in a stream of consciousness style during a year in the life of a small sheep farmer fighting against an increasingly profit driven impersonal progress-for-the-sake-of-progress machine. Originally published in 2016 in Iceland, this English translation is due out 31st March 2020 from Hatchette on their Quercus imprint, it's 320 pages and will be available in hardcover format. (Other editions available in other formats). The prose is very spare and feels like it's been written down almost verbatim in the voice of the subject, Heida. The pacing of the conversational prose makes it *feel* like it's been translated and I think it could seem quite choppy and unpolished until readers become comfortable with it. I found her story compelling and admirable and I was rooting for her throughout the story. I like her spirit of self-reliance and practicality as well as the utter lack of any self pity. She's unapologetically strong and willing to take steps and assume roles outside of her comfort zone in order to make a necessary change. I found it an enjoyable but often stark look at a somewhat hard life in an difficult climate. I found the writing distracting and choppy at first but not noticeable after a while. Her story is fascinating and I enjoyed reading about it. Four stars. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I read the English translation of this and it was a great insight into a tough life. Heida is a sheep farmer in the wilds of Iceland and potentially could lose her land to a power station company. She steps up, gets involved in politics and all the way through looks after her sheep and lambs, while running side businesses and having fun. I liked Heida and I liked the book but I would have liked more insight into the life and a more structured narrative as this is little separate stories and inci I read the English translation of this and it was a great insight into a tough life. Heida is a sheep farmer in the wilds of Iceland and potentially could lose her land to a power station company. She steps up, gets involved in politics and all the way through looks after her sheep and lambs, while running side businesses and having fun. I liked Heida and I liked the book but I would have liked more insight into the life and a more structured narrative as this is little separate stories and incidents. The writing, however, is quite beautiful:- "To be the only worker keeping this going and continuing this battle while feeling as though I am being punched in the face over and over and over, on a boat that's being constantly rocked beneath me, can be an almost unbearably heavy burden at times." "One of the things that I find most unbearable is having these people crawling all over my river and across my land: these people who have come here to destroy my land in order to make money from it. I'm constantly aware of them wading through the river, scaring the geese, and disturbing my sheep. And they're allowed to do so. And I who live here, the landowner, am not allowed to kick them off my land." She describes depression as well as any writer I have ever read on the subject. "When depression hits you full force, reason can't help you. Depression overwhelms all rationality." Her love for the land is clear and all consuming, "We humans are mortal: the land outlives us. New people come and go, new sheep, new birds and so on, but the land, with its rivers and lakes, vegetation and resources, remains. It undergoes changes over the years, but it remains." There is no denying Heida is a remarkable woman and I wish there were many more like her in the world. I cannot, however, envy her life which is hard and unremitting, even if she does get to have fun on her quad bike now and again. Recommended if you're going through a tough time or feeling a bit sorry for yourself. However hard life is, it usually isn't this hard. I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley in return for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    BookwormishMe

    What caught my eye about this book was the fact that Heida is a sheep farmer. What kept me reading the book was the fascinating story about Heida’s life in Iceland, raising sheep, farming, and fighting against environmental destruction. Heida is a force to be reckoned with. Raised in Iceland, Heida has been many things - a teacher, a professional shearer, an activist, a police presence, a model, and a sheep farmer. She grew up in a small farming town, and as a young adult chose farming over the b What caught my eye about this book was the fact that Heida is a sheep farmer. What kept me reading the book was the fascinating story about Heida’s life in Iceland, raising sheep, farming, and fighting against environmental destruction. Heida is a force to be reckoned with. Raised in Iceland, Heida has been many things - a teacher, a professional shearer, an activist, a police presence, a model, and a sheep farmer. She grew up in a small farming town, and as a young adult chose farming over the bright lights of New York City and the glamorous life of a fashion model. She learned farming and sheep raising with the passion that her life encompasses. This is a woman who does not shy away from much. When faced with a giant power company threatening her land, Heida does not retreat, but mounts a battle against the power company to save her land, her water source, and the beauty that is Iceland. Her ability to stand up for what is right leads people to want her to run for office. And while she is hesitant to do so, she also knows that it is something that would allow her to have a better say in the changes to both her community and the rest of Iceland. The format of the story tended to be a little difficult - almost a stream of consciousness. Some of the sections were really short, and some continued on later in the book. The book is written in the four seasons of a year with Heida. It tends to read more like a journal, with bits and pieces of her daily life recorded. Even with the odd format, I loved her story. She can be quite the inspiration and role model for young women today. Follow your heart, follow your path, and don’t let others tell you just because you are a female that it can’t be done. 4.25 stars This review will be posted at BookwormishMe.com on 26 February 2020 .

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jane Hunt

    I was attracted to this book because it is about a place, Iceland, that I know little about, it is currently a popular holiday destination too. The idea of a female Shepherd, running a farm practically single-handed is worth reading about, so I did. The book has an informative forward, written by the biographer, who is a notable Icelandic author. The book came into being because Heida wanted to stop parts of her land, which has been farmed since the 12th-century being destroyed by an energy compa I was attracted to this book because it is about a place, Iceland, that I know little about, it is currently a popular holiday destination too. The idea of a female Shepherd, running a farm practically single-handed is worth reading about, so I did. The book has an informative forward, written by the biographer, who is a notable Icelandic author. The book came into being because Heida wanted to stop parts of her land, which has been farmed since the 12th-century being destroyed by an energy company. This it seems is the catalyst for Heida sharing her life to date, but the story is so much more than this. Written like a memoir, this story details Heida’s life, much of which has been spent on Ljótarstaðir, her family farm. The writing style is informal. It is emotional, individual and personal, providing a real insight into her life. It is also a story about preserving a way of life and the individual versus the corporate machine. The unwavering message being, it is not enough to want to keep your way of life, in an ever-changing world, you sometimes have to step into their world and fight on equal terms. If you enjoy learning about different ways of life and culture and have a love of animals this will be an interesting read for you, like it is for me. I received a copy of this book from John Murray Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    I received a free digital copy of this book from Netgalley. I know very little about Iceland, and I'm a sucker for a female-led narrative, so on both counts Heida performed beautifully. Heida Ásgeirsdóttir is a farmer poet working and living in rural Iceland, rearing over 500 sheep while battling the evils of corporate greed. How's that for a character description? The book is told from Heida's point-of-view and recounts the trials and tribulations of sheep farming and local politics, as well as su I received a free digital copy of this book from Netgalley. I know very little about Iceland, and I'm a sucker for a female-led narrative, so on both counts Heida performed beautifully. Heida Ásgeirsdóttir is a farmer poet working and living in rural Iceland, rearing over 500 sheep while battling the evils of corporate greed. How's that for a character description? The book is told from Heida's point-of-view and recounts the trials and tribulations of sheep farming and local politics, as well as supplying us with biographical info on Heida herself. Overall, I enjoyed the book. Heida's life is incredibly interesting, and her narration on both the day-to-day and overarching issues that shape her life was heart breaking and uplifting in turn. It is great to hear the outcome of the power plant battle, and her triumphs in lambing. One thing to note is that the story jumps and starts from one point to the next without there being a typical flow of events. This is fairly true to how life is, and at points you feel as though you are sitting with Heida herself as she discusses her life. My one problem was that, reading on Kindle it seemed like I was missing out on formatting that may have made some chapters easier to follow.

  19. 5 out of 5

    James

    I stopped reading this twice before I reached 100 pages in. I found the diary aspect to be very repetitious as we are told again and again that she doesn't want to get in to politics. And sometimes the diary stuff was dull later on too, but not as much as those first few 100 pages. I did finish it finally. I enjoyed reading about the farm and life in the town's, but it sometimes felt a bit scattered due to the diary presentation. One last thing that bothered me was that several reviews presented I stopped reading this twice before I reached 100 pages in. I found the diary aspect to be very repetitious as we are told again and again that she doesn't want to get in to politics. And sometimes the diary stuff was dull later on too, but not as much as those first few 100 pages. I did finish it finally. I enjoyed reading about the farm and life in the town's, but it sometimes felt a bit scattered due to the diary presentation. One last thing that bothered me was that several reviews presented the book as being about a super model who left New York to take over the family farm. But this is made clear at the beginning to not have been the case at all. I wonder whether many reviewers in the press actually read the book as I didn't think it was quite as they presented it to be.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Heather Boundy

    While the reading of this story suffers somewhat in translation, this is a fascinating story of the life of one woman farming in an isolated region of Iceland and her fight against the building of a power station in her valley and its subsequent flooding of parts of her farm. She is passionate about her farm, her animals and her individuality. As well as almost single-handedly running a large sheep farm, she has also worked as a model, teacher, policewoman, local government councillor and leader While the reading of this story suffers somewhat in translation, this is a fascinating story of the life of one woman farming in an isolated region of Iceland and her fight against the building of a power station in her valley and its subsequent flooding of parts of her farm. She is passionate about her farm, her animals and her individuality. As well as almost single-handedly running a large sheep farm, she has also worked as a model, teacher, policewoman, local government councillor and leader of the green movement in Iceland. A fascinating read. I was privileged to hear the author and subject speaking at the wonderful Hay Festival in Wales in 2019 with my daughter.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nigel Masterton

    A collection of anecdotes as told by Heida who runs a remote sheep farm in Finland. A large part of the narrative is spent re-visiting her ongoing battle to prevent the building of a power station and reservoir adjacent to her land. Clearly Heida is devoted to both her farm and her lifestyle and her anger against this development is made abundantly clear. Perhaps the storyline is a little too personalised for this reviewer but nonetheless I finished the book with the greatest respect for Heida. A collection of anecdotes as told by Heida who runs a remote sheep farm in Finland. A large part of the narrative is spent re-visiting her ongoing battle to prevent the building of a power station and reservoir adjacent to her land. Clearly Heida is devoted to both her farm and her lifestyle and her anger against this development is made abundantly clear. Perhaps the storyline is a little too personalised for this reviewer but nonetheless I finished the book with the greatest respect for Heida. She works incredibly hard and against all the odds emerges as someone whose extraordinary energy ensures her farm lives to fight another day.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    Heida is a young woman running a family farm in a remote part of Iceland. This is a description of her life, written by Sugurdardottir, but in the first person, so that it sounds exactly like Heida telling the reader about her life. She is a human dynamo, running 500 sheep by herself, a flock that trebles during lambing season. She also provides other farmers around Iceland with a scanning service telling them which of their ewes are pregnant and with how many lambs are expected. It is clear that Heida is a young woman running a family farm in a remote part of Iceland. This is a description of her life, written by Sugurdardottir, but in the first person, so that it sounds exactly like Heida telling the reader about her life. She is a human dynamo, running 500 sheep by herself, a flock that trebles during lambing season. She also provides other farmers around Iceland with a scanning service telling them which of their ewes are pregnant and with how many lambs are expected. It is clear that the work is tough and physically demanding, but she is up to the task. As if her farming activities were not enough, Heida's farm is threatened by a proposal to build a dam for a power plant, removing the pasture her family has used for generations, and towering over her home paddock. She gets involved in the protests against the development, which is a divisive move in her community. On top of all that, the farm is in the path of an active volcano. Divided into the seasons, this is an account of a year in the life of an extraordinary woman.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Snorki

    Biographical account of a year in the life of a female Icelandic farmer, who has started to become more prominent due to her opposition to a hydroelectric development proposed in the area including some of her land. Having visited Iceland last year, this was a very engaging book for me as I could imagine some of the places and challenges. Farming is a hard occupation anywhere but Iceland seems particularly challenging given the climate, but Heida would not want to do anything else. Her love of t Biographical account of a year in the life of a female Icelandic farmer, who has started to become more prominent due to her opposition to a hydroelectric development proposed in the area including some of her land. Having visited Iceland last year, this was a very engaging book for me as I could imagine some of the places and challenges. Farming is a hard occupation anywhere but Iceland seems particularly challenging given the climate, but Heida would not want to do anything else. Her love of the land and of farming comes through strongly in this book. Really enjoyed reading it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    It is very seldom that i will read a biography, as i do prefer to read fiction books. I live by the South Downs and the front cover reminded me of the many sheep that i pass whilst out driving. Hence the cover caught my attention at first, followed by the synopsis. So glad to have read this book, which was very interesting and very well written. I rarely write what a story is about, as i prefer one to read a book for themselves, but i do recommend. My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for my It is very seldom that i will read a biography, as i do prefer to read fiction books. I live by the South Downs and the front cover reminded me of the many sheep that i pass whilst out driving. Hence the cover caught my attention at first, followed by the synopsis. So glad to have read this book, which was very interesting and very well written. I rarely write what a story is about, as i prefer one to read a book for themselves, but i do recommend. My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for my copy.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    Dithering between 3 and 4 stars. This reads like a series of interviews and it's a bit disjointed although it loosely follows the seasons as structure. Lots of fascinating insight into the life of an Icelandic sheep farmer, in this case a woman farming alone on a remote farm under threat from a power scheme (and under permanent threat from a volcano). Her personality shines through, and while it isn't exactly a memoir there is a lot of personal and family history. I would have liked a map, also Dithering between 3 and 4 stars. This reads like a series of interviews and it's a bit disjointed although it loosely follows the seasons as structure. Lots of fascinating insight into the life of an Icelandic sheep farmer, in this case a woman farming alone on a remote farm under threat from a power scheme (and under permanent threat from a volcano). Her personality shines through, and while it isn't exactly a memoir there is a lot of personal and family history. I would have liked a map, also illustrations although I presume that would have been too expensive. The cover is great.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Martha Brindley

    As a person who loves travelling, outdoors and animals, this book really appealed to me. it was not merely about sheep farming in Iceland, but a well written biography and interesting story. It will appeal to anyone who is interested in people and other countries. it just makes me want to go and visit what I imagine to be a beautiful country at the top of the world. My thanks to Net Galley for my copy.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan I

    This was a really enjoyable read. The story of a rural Icelandic girl, raised on a sheep farm under modest, hard working circumstances. When she rockets into international modeling, she realizes the emptiness of her new life and returns to her farm. The rural region in which Heida lives, is threatened with flooding for hydro power. Heida turns to fighting to preserve her way of life and that of her rural community. This was a fascinating first hand account and well worth a read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    An accurate depiction of what it's like farming in one of the most remote places in the world. Heida is a sheep farmer in Iceland - right next door to a volcano. Apart from lambing, drenching and tailing, Heida also takes on politics in a bid to stop an energy company from turning her land into a reservoir. This book tells the story of a year in Heida's life - the highs as well as the lows - a great read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alex Bradshaw

    I enjoyed listening to this book. It was fascinating to hear about Heiða and all her trials and tribulations fighting against the power plant, but I had hoped for more of a narrative thread connecting the whole book. It is more of a collection of stories from Heiða that are loosely tied together with the theme of her taking up public office and fighting off the people from the energy companies. It was very interesting to hear everything about how she lives and to hear her poems.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tamiko

    Great book about a shepherd who takes on the job of a counsel woman so she can protect her land from being flooded so that the government could build a power plant. I learned quite a bit about being a sheep farmer and also gained greater respect for those people at the front lines of these environmental battles.

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