Co-written with Steinunn Sigurdardottir, an Icelandic novelist, this memoir of [Heida Asgeirsdottir's] life is already an international bestseller. It’s conversational, confessional, occasionally confrontational, but is presented with courteous reserve, and is interspersed with wry (if not always witty, but that could be a translation issue) verses that are apparently a family tradition... The portrait that emerges can seem contradictory. A shy individual who is a member of parliament, a loner who withdraws but also has a highly developed sense of wanderlust. But she has about her an honesty that is never less than enchanting... she is exactly the right sort of modern role model.
This is an impressionistic novel of a kind that is still rare, and rarely popular. There is no plot, but rather a collection of incidents. Simon Beattie, the translator, deserves to be thanked for introducing this little treasure to an English-speaking audience.
Though she has none of the gentle sweetness of Heidi, Heida comes across as a highly impressive person. She’s physically strong, too: among her many accomplishments is sheep-shearing (she can do 70 in a day), and she even goes in for international competitions. She aims to beat the world record for shearing a sheep, 37.9 seconds, currently held by Ivan Scott from Donegal.
Iceland is lucky to have this formidable guardian angel protecting its traditions and landscape.
Despite the aid of a co-writer, Heida is a patchy, staccato, sometimes banal but engaging fusion of memoir, diary and random information. It has already taken Iceland by storm, perhaps because its author was fleetingly, in her late teens, a model, and is strikingly tall and good looking...The simplicity and unpolished tone of this book is a reminder of whose story it is. Repetitive, occasionally dull and rambling, and written with little felicity or grace, it is nevertheless revelatory and inspiring.