The Most Beautiful Dawn
translated by Laura A. Janda
Lina is fifteen years old and she is having trouble in school. When she reads or does math, the letters and numbers get jumbled up and she gets a headache. Things aren’t much better with boys either. Ailu, the student council president, defends Lina when other students make fun of her, but Ailu already has a girlfriend. Lina has a crush on Larin, the blue-eyed blond-haired star of the school soccer team. Lina doesn’t think she has a chance to be his girlfriend. Lina meets Zlatan, an artist who lives alone in the forest outside the village. Zlatan is older than Lina’s father, but he is so kind and gentle. Zlatan recognizes that Lina has artistic talents and teaches her how to paint and make traditional handicrafts. Ailu, Larin, and Zlatan make Lina feel confused about who she is and what she wants, but in the end she finds her way.
The Most Beautiful Dawn [Čábbámus iđitguovssu] was originally published in North Sámi, the language of an indigenous minority people who inhabit the far northern parts of Scandinavia, a land where the sun never sets in the summer and stays hidden below the horizon in the winter. In 2005, this novel won the Saami Council Prize for Literature.
Author Elle Márjá Vars is a journalist and editor and is a central figure in the cultural life of the North Sámi people. She places special emphasis on the need for high-quality literature for younger readers of North Sámi. Translated by Laura A. Janda, a professor of Russian linguistics at the University of Tromsø, Norway.