The narrator of Antiphony, a young Norwegian woman, heads to the north, intending to write a book about relationships among the Sami. As she becomes acquainted with three generations of Sami women, she hears their stories and attempts to make sense of them. Soon she loses her role as impartial observer and becomes more involved in their lives. The more she discovers, the less she feels she understands.
The novel is a wonderful picture of Sami culture in transition in the face of inevitable outside forces. The novel is also, in a sense, an non-ethnography, as the boundaries between the narrator and her informants blur.
Laila Stien is a Norwegian author of novels, poetry and children's books. Her works often incorporate elements of Northern Norwegian and Sami culture. She is also a translator from Sami to Norwegian and has edited anthologies of Sami literature.