The End of Drum-Time

Finalist, National Book Awards 2023 for Fiction

ISBN 9781250822901
Henry Holt and Company / Macmillan Publishers
author photo of Hanna Pylväinen. (Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan)
Hanna Pylväinen

Hanna Pylväinen is the author of the novel We Sinners, which received a Whiting Award and a Balcones Fiction Prize. More about this author >

Award Years

Award Status

Award Categories

From the publisher:

In 1851, at a remote village in the Scandinavian tundra, a Lutheran minister known as Mad Lasse tries in vain to convert the native Sámi reindeer herders to his faith. But when one of the most respected herders has a dramatic awakening and dedicates his life to the church, his impetuous son, Ivvár, is left to guard their diminishing herd alone. By chance, he meets Mad Lasse’s daughter Willa, and their blossoming infatuation grows into something that ultimately crosses borders—of cultures, of beliefs, and of political divides—as Willa follows the herders on their arduous annual migration north to the sea.

Gorgeously written and sweeping in scope, Hanna Pylväinen’s The End of Drum-Time immerses readers in a world lit by the northern lights, steeped in age-old rituals, and guided by passions that transcend place and time.

Judges Citation

In prose that is at once luxuriant and precise, Hanna Pylväinen vividly transports the reader to the remote Scandinavian tundra of the 1850s, introducing complicated characters who reveal their deepest joys, sorrows, fears, and hopes. This stunning novel manages to explore major themes of identity, race, politics, and faith, all while putting the focus firmly on the human stories at hand. The End of Drum-Time masterfully takes us to a place, people, and time unfamiliar to most readers but one that becomes completely alive—and closely mirrors the most divisive and potent aspects of our contemporary lives.


Hanna Pylväinen at the 2023 National Book Awards Finalist Reading