Kristen is a Swedish young woman living in Edinburgh with a Scottish man of Brazilian heritage. She works in the Castle Museum, the National Museum of Immigration, that celebrates the history of Scotland by providing a living exhibition of all the peoples who have contributed to Scottish history. She is part of the Nordic peoples exhibition, a Norse woman who came with the raiders to find a new place to farm. Her team speak Icelandic, which she doesn’t understand, and Norwegian of which she understands a little. They aren’t allowed to speak English during their shifts, not even with colleagues who don’t understand them.
As the novel opens, Kristen’s partner who is training to be a nurse, has decided to take a break and immerse himself in a new project: learning Swedish. He is so dedicated he refuses to speak English. Though it’s her language, this shuts Kristen out.Continue reading