Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nordic America Found: Eric Dregni's Vikings in the Attic

Yesterday I trotted over to the Minneapolis campus for Eric Dregni's book discussion and signing. Dregni's latest book, Vikings in the Attic, is a finalist in the Minnesota Book Awards and at yesterday's event Dregni gave us insight into what prompted him to write this somewhat-sequel to In Cod We Trust. Returning to Minnesota after a Fulbright sponsored year in Norway, Dregni kept noticing Scandinavian inspired phenomena. From coffee pot water towers to giant balls of twine, Nordic "design" is entwined (funny pun!) not just in Midwestern landscapes, but across America, often in eccentric and unusual ways. Dregni wondered how this happened, and approached his research with the question "What would I want to read about this?"

Dregni says he took a gunshot approach to search for what it means to be Scandinavian many generations removed from our immigrant past. He uses wit and nostalgia to bring readers along on the journey. Buried in our own clean romantic constructs of what it means to be Scandinavian are tales of immigration, forced assimilation and citizenship, and the self-deprecating humor (and a very non-Scandinavian dose of pride) that ultimately unites Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes with America.

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