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Heida: A Shepherd at the Edge of the World Reviews

Heida: A Shepherd at the Edge of the World by Steinunn Sigurdardottir

Heida: A Shepherd at the Edge of the World

Steinunn Sigurdardottir

4.13 out of 5

4 reviews

Imprint: John Murray Publishers Ltd
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Publication date: 18 Apr 2019
ISBN: 9781473696501

The inspiring story of Icelandic sheep farmer, former model and feminist heroine has become an international bestseller and won both the Icelandic Booksellers' Prize and Women's Literature Prize

  • The Sunday TimesMust Read
4 stars out of 5
Helen Davies
7 Apr 2019

"The remarkable story of a model turned sheep farmer at ‘the end of the world’"

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.


3 stars out of 5
1 Aug 2019

"It’s clear from reading At the Edge of the Night that its bookish author was also a devotee of cinema. "

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.

5 stars out of 5

"Fascinating... Iceland is lucky to have this formidable guardian angel protecting its traditions and landscape"

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.

4 stars out of 5
Rosemary Goring
21 Apr 2019

"revelatory and inspiring"

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.