Monday, February 22, 2010

Review of Purge

by Sofi Oksanen

Adult fiction/historical fiction

Pub date April 2010

I'm always a little nervous when I pick up a translated novel, because I've read a lot of bad translations in my day. Thanks to authors like Henning Mankell, Steig Larsson, and Ninni Holmqvist, there are more and more great translations coming from previously overlooked parts of the world. This is one of them. Oksanen is a new Finnish-Estonian novelist, and this is not the last you'll hear of her. Purge tells the story of two women: Aliide Truu, who lives alone in the Estonian countryside, and Zara, a girl whom Aliide finds in her backyard one morning. Through their cryptic conversations and heartbreaking memories, Oksanen slowly spins a tale of a changing Estonia, and the women who have lived there. On the jacket copy it says, "Purge is a fiercely compelling and damning novel about the corrosive effects of shame, and life in a time and place where to survive is to be implicated." It is also a beautifully written story of redemption, which I highly recommend to book groups everywhere.

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