The Danes are the happiest people in the world, and pay the highest taxes. 'Neutral' Sweden is one of the biggest arms manufacturers in the world. Finns have the largest per capita gun ownership after the US and Yemen. 54 per cent of Icelanders believe in elves. Norway is the richest country on earth. 5 per cent of Danish men have had sex with an animal. Michael Booth has lived among the Scandinavians, on and off, for over ten years, perplexed by their many strange paradoxes and character traits and equally bemused by the unquestioning enthusiasm for all things Nordic that has engulfed the rest of the world. He leaves his adopted home of Denmark and embarks on a journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover who these curious tribes are, the secrets of their success and, most intriguing of all, what they think of each other. Along the way a more nuanced, often darker picture emerges of a region plagued by taboos, characterised by suffocating parochialism and populated by extremists of various shades.
Scandinavia seems to be the capital of effortless cool. From sophisticated interior design and the expansion of Ikea, to the triumph of Nordic noir, right-thinking people hold up these northerners as exemplifiers of what is good in the world. Booth tries to get beneath the skin of the reticent Scandinavians and to understand what these famously introspective people think about themselves and how they deal with their neighbours. The results of his jocular probing gives way to discussion of some of the real problems faced by these societies, and there are serious undertones, for not everything sparkles in the lands of the north.
'Comprehensive and occasionally downright hilarious... I was laughing out loud' -- Mariella Frostrup Observer
'An affectionate and informative study of a region.' -- Ian Critchley Sunday Times
'[An] entertaining, warts-and-all, English expat look at the Nordic miracle.' Daily Telegraph
'A thoroughly entertaining read, written brilliantly' -- Bernard Porter Literary Review
Publication date: 12/02/2015
|Publication date:||12th February 2015|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, The Real World, Travel,|
|Categories:||Travel writing, Humour,|
Michael Booth contributes to numerous British and foreign magazines and all of the UK's broadsheet newspapers. He is the author of four works of non-fiction: Eat, Pray, Eat, which was nominated for a British Travel Press Award in 2012; Just As Well I'm Leaving, nominated for the Irish Times first writers award; Sacre Cordon Bleu, a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week; and Sushi and Beyond, winner of the Guild of Food Writers award in 2010. He lives in Denmark with his wife and children.More About Michael Booth