source – library book

Sofi Oksanen is a finnish Estonian writer based in Finland ,this book won this years

Nordic book prize .She he father is finnish and her mother is Estonian .she has been heavily identified with BLGT Lit and has been well praised in the Baltic states for highlighting this .

The book centres on two women’s lives fifty years apart one at the start of communism and the other at the end of it ,we see how there stories develop ,throughout the book the main body of the work is devoted to Zara a victim of human trafficking in the nineties her trial and tribulations and how she escapes the clutches of the people who made her take part in the sex trade ,this story is a story that needs to be told and is a common problem for young women in the former soviet states that end up on the streets and dark rooms of the larger cities in Europe

A light shone through the keyhole .Zara awoke on a mattress next to the door .Pus had drained from her inflated earlobe; she could smell it .She groped for the beer bottle on the floor .the mouth of the bottle was sticky ,and the beer made her throat feel the same way go from dry to sticky and rough .

Zara early on in Berlin held in a room for men to use .

The second person in the book is Zara’s  great-aunt Aliide Truu ,she has her own story to tell of love and jealousy with Zara grandmother her sister during and after the second world war that lead her to live in a remote part of Estonia and be estranged from her sister and the family ,in the middle part of the book we see the sisters story unfold during and after the war and how communism effected even the most normal of families as it did in their case ,this lead aliide to become a very strong and self-willed person she is at the very start when she finds the broken Zara at the front of her remote house as she has escape the clutches of the people who forced her into the sex trade .she is hesitant at first but then comes to care for her grand-niece .

Aliide tightened her grip on the scythe .Maybe the girl was crazy .Maybe she had escaped from somewhere .You never know .Maybe she was just confused ,maybe something had happened that caused her to be like that .Or maybe it was that she was in fact a decoy for a Russian criminal gang .

Aliide find her grand-niece in the garden .

This is a truly powerful novel ,it was developed from a play so there is a lot of speaking in places ,it seems to capture the female struggle before during and after communism for women in the Baltic states .The book is very violent in places but this is need as the subject matter shouldn’t be sugar-coated for the reader .a wonderfully powerful novel from a truly promising  Young female writer .the book was translated by Lola Rodgers who seems to have done a wonderful job retaining the characters voices .

21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kelly
    Nov 30, 2010 @ 01:35:50

    This looks absolutely amazing. I love your review and now am going to check about finding a copy of my own 🙂 I definitely agree with what you said about it being a story that needs to be told, and that it shouldn’t be sugar-coated. People need to be more aware that things like what take place in this book really do happen in real life.


  2. maphead
    Nov 30, 2010 @ 03:13:03

    Wow, that book sounds intense ! Might have to read that in 2011. Thanks for the review !


  3. Jackie (Farm Lane Books)
    Nov 30, 2010 @ 11:19:30

    I love the sound of this one. Not sure why I’m drawn to dark, violent books, but those quotes really grabbed my attention. I’ve added it to my wishlist 🙂


  4. Emily Jane
    Nov 30, 2010 @ 16:47:04

    This sounds like a painful but important read. I’ll be on the lookout for it!


  5. novelinsights
    Dec 01, 2010 @ 00:18:23

    Simon (Savidge Reads) flagged this one to me as an excellent, and your review makes me want to get a copy even more.


  6. amymckie
    Dec 01, 2010 @ 17:47:50

    I have this on my tbr and am more and more interested in reading it the more reviews I see. Of course, I still haven’t picked it up, but I will one of these days!


  7. savidgereads
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 17:03:38

    I loved this book, definitley one of my favourites of 2010!!!


  8. Trackback: November round up « Winstonsdad's Blog
  9. Kinna
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 08:29:52

    I like the sound of this book. And I have not read any Estonian writers. Adding this to my wishlist. Thanks for the review.


  10. Trackback: Purge the Prize winner « Winstonsdad's Blog
  11. pburt
    Dec 13, 2010 @ 01:06:25

    I am thinking of choosing this book for my book group. Thanks for the review.


  12. Trackback: When the doves disappeared by Sofi Oksanen | Winstonsdad's Blog

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November 2010


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