Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss
Strangers in Iceland

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...In “Names for the Sea,” the British novelis...distinguishes herself as a writer with a sharp eye for her surroundings, a winning sense of self-awareness and, despite her claims to the contrary, an infectious appetite for new experiences.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

Sarah Moss had a childhood dream of moving to Iceland, sustained by a wild summer there when she was nineteen. In 2009, she saw an advertisement for a job at the University of Iceland and applied on a whim, despite having two young children and a comfortable life in Kent. The resulting adventure was shaped by Iceland’s economic collapse, which halved the value of her salary, by the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull and by a collection of new friends, including a poet who saw the only bombs fall on Iceland in 1943, a woman who speaks to elves and a chef who guided Sarah’s family around the intricacies of Icelandic cuisine.

Moss explored hillsides of boiling mud and volcanic craters and learned to drive like an Icelander on the unsurfaced roads that link remote farms and fishing villages in the far north. She watched the northern lights and the comings and goings of migratory birds, and as the weeks and months went by, she and her family learned new ways to live.

Names for the Sea is her compelling, beautiful and very funny account of living in a country poised on the edge of Europe, where modernization clashes with living folklore.
 

About Sarah Moss

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Sarah Moss was educated at Oxford University and is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Warwick University. She is the author of two critically acclaimed novels: Cold Earth and Night Walking, which was selected for the Fiction Uncovered Award in 2011, and the co-author of Chocolate: A Global History. She spent 2009-10 as a visiting lecturer at the University of Iceland and now lives in west Cornwall.
 
Published May 1, 2013 by Counterpoint. 370 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travel, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Names for the Sea
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Kathleen Jamie on Nov 02 2012

This is an entertaining, insightful book, about other people's lives and strange to say, poverty.

Read Full Review of Names for the Sea: Strangers ... | See more reviews from Guardian

Kirkus

Good
on Mar 31 2013

An infectious memoir from someone engagingly candid about her temporary homeland's limitations—and her own.

Read Full Review of Names for the Sea: Strangers ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Star Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by Kevin Canfield on Jun 09 2013

...In “Names for the Sea,” the British novelis...distinguishes herself as a writer with a sharp eye for her surroundings, a winning sense of self-awareness and, despite her claims to the contrary, an infectious appetite for new experiences.

Read Full Review of Names for the Sea: Strangers ... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Reader Rating for Names for the Sea
72%

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