“Some novels, in addition to all else they accomplish, simply make great company: Christina Sunley's first novel is one, packed with delectable relationships and family secrets… Sunley has created much more to delight readers en route: characters we anticipate with curiosity and fondness, a deep reverence for the magic of language… In the character of Birdie, Sunley's made a marvel… Sunley's writing often enchants… I wish I had more room to quote from this ambitious work, packed with juicy events, dialogue and settings…”
—The San Francisco Chronicle
“An impressive debut novel by San Francisco writer Christina Sunley… This novel works on several levels: as a drama of family dynamics; as an immigrant story; and as a showcase for the author's broad and deep knowledge of Iceland.”
—The Seattle Times
“If all you know about Iceland is failed banks and Björk, The Tricking of Freya is a highly readable introduction…”
—The Christian Science Monitor
“An instant classic…[a] luminous first novel…the story sparkles with the author’s love of language and of her own Icelandic culture. The book’s masterfully told final mysteries reveal themselves as magically as darkroom images appearing under the light.”
"The author draws on her Icelandic heritage for this alluring and mystical story of a ... girl who discovers that family tragedies can haunt and shape many generations."
“The Tricking of Freya is a fantastic story, full of myth and legend, family drama, epic landscapes, the search for identity, a sense of belonging and unconditional love… Sunley deftly weaves in real Icelandic and Norse history, Icelandic literature, culture and language into her tale, giving it a seriousness and depth that is compelling, romantic and readable… an accomplished debt.”
“Sunley's debut novel is an intricate family travelogue, based in the present of Icelandic-Canadian life and the half-mythical world of her grandparents' Iceland… This grand coming-of-age-novel boasts a dynamic set of characters and a rich bank of cultural and personal lore, making this dark, cold family tale a surprisingly lush experience.”
—Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“This wounded daughter of a land of the midnight sun recounts a journey to Iceland as dramatic, dangerous, and mysterious as any ancient epic adventure, and retraces her ardent quest for the truth about a staggering family secret. Steeped in the highly symbolic mythology, complex language, and otherworldly landscape of Iceland, and the little-known story of the nineteenth-century Icelandic diaspora, Sunley's astonishingly accomplished debut is a bewitching tale of volcanic emotions, cultural inheritance, family sorrows, mental illness, and life-altering discoveries.”
"The Tricking of Freya is rich in description … bright and lively and a very good read."
—Toronto Globe & Mail
"The Tricking of Freya has an authenticity that is breathtaking. The places, the people, the history, the mythology, are real, vital, alive, dynamic."
"...almost every word that Sunley writes, and every sentence that she strings together, is beautiful and truthful and revealing. In masterfully crafting a story about a particular people in a particular place and time, she has written a universal tale about displacement and belonging, about family and history and home."
—Winnipeg Free Press
"An amazing debut... truly poetic. She brings her settings alive in a way that will make you believe that you have been there and experienced it all yourself."