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The End of Drum-Time: A Novel (Hardcover)

The End of Drum-Time: A Novel By Hanna Pylväinen Cover Image
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An epic love story in the vein of Cold Mountain and The Great Circle, about a young reindeer herder and a minister’s daughter in the nineteenth century Arctic Circle

In 1851, at a remote village in the Scandinavian tundra, a Lutheran minister known as Mad Lasse tries in vain to convert the native Sámi reindeer herders to his faith. But when one of the most respected herders has a dramatic awakening and dedicates his life to the church, his impetuous son, Ivvár, is left to guard their diminishing herd alone. By chance, he meets Mad Lasse’s daughter Willa, and their blossoming infatuation grows into something that ultimately crosses borders—of cultures, of beliefs, and of political divides—as Willa follows the herders on their arduous annual migration north to the sea.

Gorgeously written and sweeping in scope, Hanna Pylväinen's The End of Drum-Time immerses readers in a world lit by the northern lights, steeped in age-old rituals, and guided by passions that transcend place and time.

About the Author

Hanna Pylväinen is the author of the novel We Sinners, which received a Whiting Award and a Balcones Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Chicago Tribune, and the Wall Street Journal; she is the recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the American-Scandinavian Foundation, and the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, as well as residencies from MacDowell, Yaddo, and the Lásságámmi Foundation. She has taught at the University of Michigan, Princeton University, Virginia Commonwealth University; currently, she is on the faculty at the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. She lives in Philadelphia.

Praise For…

Named a Best Book of 2023 by NPR, Time, the Christian Science Monitor, Vox, and Kirkus Reviews
An NPR Book of the Day
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2023 by Elle

“In prose that is both luxuriant and precise, Hanna Pylväinen vividly transports the reader to the remote Scandinavian tundra of the 1850s, introducing complicated characters who reveal their deepest joys, sorrows, fears, and hopes. This stunning novel manages to explore major themes of identity, race, politics, and faith, all while putting the focus firmly on the human stories at hand. The End of Drum-Time masterfully takes us to a place, people, and time unfamiliar to most readers but one that becomes completely alive—and closely mirrors the most divisive and potent aspects of our contemporary lives.”
—The 2023 National Book Award Citation

The writing is so beautiful and so entrancing that you'll embrace both the harsh realities of herding and hunting in sub-zero temperatures, and the doctrines dictated by a culture centered on suffering and submission. Fortunately, the author also gives the young couple a heated ... coupling, which, along with other scenes of communal joy and work, remind readers that even in the darkest Northern world life remains.”

A monumental feat of melodic prose and astute observation, Hanna Pylväinen’s historical fiction novel The End of Drum-Time transports readers to the otherworldly tundra of Scandinavia, circa 1851, where minister Lars Levi is 'always after' the 'heart' of the native Sámi reindeer herders, whom he seeks to convert. When one of these Sámi falls for Lars’s own daughter, the resulting adventure is one as powerful and profound as the book’s awe-inspiring setting.”

The best type of historical fiction--electrifying, edifying, and set in an utterly enthralling time and place.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Pylväinen’s tale offers not only exquisite prose and insightful observations, but also fresh perspectives on family bonds, cultural traditions, and religious colonialism.”
The Christian Science Monitor

Pylväinen’s breathless, exquisite prose rushes fast as meltwater through a story of reckless lovers and desperate religious passions to an ending that feels like a flood in its inevitability and destructive force. This is a book as beautiful and unforgiving as the land it describes.”
—Constance Grady, Vox

“A deeply researched story about obedience, defiance, and what happens when the tectonic plates of two different cultures collide.”

Ambitious and resonant, a vivid, fascinating, and moving novel...Beautifully written and masterfully researched, the book's greatest triumph is the characters, full of human foibles, passions, and tenderness, jealousy, courage, doubts, and moments of transcendence.”
Kirkus (starred review)

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

With engrossing details of reindeer herding, a beautifully rendered setting and powerful echoes of America’s own dark history of settlers forcing their religion on Indigenous peoples, The End of Drum-Time will leave a lasting impression on all readers of historical fiction.”
BookPage (starred review)

“Brilliant. Infinitely moving. I am transfixed, inspired, and awestruck”
—Jacqueline Woodson, New York Times bestselling author of Red at the Bone

Pylväinen creates a picture of a time and a place with an appealing diversity of characterization—the 'outlander' Swedes, the native Sámi—each character crafted with a depth and complexity that brings them to life, from their religious beliefs to the cultural ties that knot them together and tear them apart. All is told through expressive prose that makes for an engaging immersion in a unique world.”

“Transports readers deep into an unfamiliar world, yet with familiar conflicts and desires. I was absorbed and changed. Absolutely beautiful.”
—Tracy Chevalier, New York Times bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring

“The End of Drum-Time explores some of the most complex themes in literature in some of the most gorgeous prose imaginable. Hanna Pylväinen’s novel of cultural collision in the far north is an extraordinary feat of research and imagination by an author who reminds you with every page what fiction can accomplish.”
—Anthony Marra, New York Times bestselling author of Mercury Pictures Present

The End of Drum-Time is a novel like no other. It is as much a historical epic as it is an intimate love story—as much a vast cultural record as it is a detailed study of a person's soul. It is infinitely rich and rewarding. In these pages, Hanna Pylväinen tells a story of love, faith, reindeer herding, and human failing. She has written a masterpiece.”
—Julia Phillips, author of the National Book Award finalist Disappearing Earth

“One of the most unique voices in American literature, Hanna Pylväinen occupies a space shared by the Scandinavian writers Kerstin Ekman, Tove Jansson, and, beyond that, 19th century masters. The End of Drum-Time brings the readers to a recent past, a distant land, and proves that the complexity of human nature is as relevant and timeless as the ancient landscape. A triumph from the first page to the last!”
Yiyun Li, author of Where Reasons End

“The nuanced, fully realized world of The End of Drum-Time is mesmerising. Pylväinen renders the icy landscape at the edge of the arctic circle as vibrantly as she conjures the distinctive voices of the characters and the impossible choices the Sámi families face. Like Hilary Mantel, Pylväinen has written that rare historical novel that is as expansive as it is precise and lyrical.”
—Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew

“Hanna Pylväinen’s audacious and thrilling epic about the human and spiritual costs of religious colonialism took my breath away. A literary ventriloquist, she gracefully evokes both the Sámi and the Swedes with a profound awareness of cultural nuance that makes any conversation or gesture of love thrum with social and political resonance. A brilliant achievement.”
—Marisa Silver, author of The Mysteries and Little Nothing

The End of Drum-Time may take place in the 19th century, but its concerns--faith, love, the treatment of indigenous people--are anything but dated. I was enraptured by the vivid world of this novel, which feels like a classic. Hanna Pylväinen is an exquisite writer and this book is extraordinary.”
Elliott Holt, author of You Are One of Them

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250822901
ISBN-10: 1250822904
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: January 24th, 2023
Pages: 368
Language: English