I'm not on my own because I've been sitting crying into a handkerchief or apron over a lack of interested men. I've been made every offer imaginable over the years. Men offer themselves, their sons...drunk fathers sometimes call me up and say things like: "Do you need a farmhand?" "I can lift the hay bales" "I can repair your tractors"...
Heiða is a solitary farmer with a flock of 500 sheep in a remorseless area bordering Iceland's highlands. It's known as the End of the World. One of her nearest neighbours is Iceland's most notorious volcano, Katla, which has periodically driven away the inhabitants of Ljótarstaðir ever since people first started farming there in the twelfth century. This portrait of Heiða written with wit and humour by one of Iceland's most acclaimed novelists, Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, tells a heroic tale of a charismatic young woman, who at 23 walked away from a career as a model in New York to take over the family farm when her father died.
I want to tell women they can do anything, and to show that sheep farming isn't just a man's game. I guess I've always been a feminist. When I was growing up, there was a female president, and I used to wear the same clothes and play with the same toys as the boys. It was just normal to me.
Divided into four seasons, Heiða tells the story of a remarkable year, interwoven with vivid stories of her animals and farm work and paints a unforgettable portrait of a remote life close to nature.
We humans are mortal; the land outlives us, new people come, new sheep, new birds and so on but the land with its rivers and lakes and resources, remains.
Steinunn Sigurdardottir is one of Iceland's most highly acclaimed novelists and poets. Her first book The Thief of Time was an international bestseller and was made into a film starring Emmanuelle Beart. Three of her other novels - Place of the Heart, Yo-Yo and The Good Lover - have also been translated into English.
It is her deep connectedness to others - whether her family, her farmer neighbours, her dog, or the land itself - which drives the emotional heart of the book * Church Times * A study in courage and determination * TLS * An engaging memoir . . . a beautifully written ode * Countryman * What a story . . . a real-life Bathsheba from Far From the Madding Crowd, but undistracted by the endless queue of male suitors . . . this frank, unusual book details a year in her life * Muddy Stilettos * Sharp and funny . . . this is an engrossing quick dispatch from an unusual life * The Riverside Way (The Riverside Bookshop blog) * Heida comes across as a highly impressive person . . . Iceland is lucky to have this formidable guardian angel protecting its traditions and landscape * Daily Mail * A rare portrait of a woman possessed of frontier courage and a sense of humour and humility . . . revelatory and inspiring * The Herald * I had the feeling while reading it that Heida was in MY kitchen, idly chatting to ME and that I was getting to know her really well, as a close friend . . . It was a privilege to be 'talked to' as a friend and allowed to share a fine farmer's life for a few hours * Rosamund Young, author of THE SECRET LIVES OF COWS * A fierce account of what it means to hold the countryside in trust . . . [Heida is an] utterly charming personality . . . this is an inspiring story of resistance to a corporate Goliath, and [Heida] - with her forthright tone and irrepressible humour - makes a delightful David * Mail on Sunday * Heida is a force of nature . . . she has about her an honesty that is never less than enchanting * Sunday Times *