Thursday, March 3, 2011

Book Review: Purge by Sofi Oksanen

This month (February, yea yea I'm late) I read 3 books! (Purge, Belle and My Last Duchess). I'm going to write about them and some more this week/weekend so there will be a bunch of posts!

First I'll tell you about Purge. This is Sofi Oksanen third book. It was first a play that morphed into this book. The play was staged at the Finnish National Theatre in 2007. The book came out in 2008 and there will be a film coming from it in 2012 (talking about a cash cow book!). Since I do not read any Finnish (well 3 words don't count as being able to read in a language) I can't read Sofi's other books. Some of them are being translated but not in English. I'm not even so sure if I'll read the other books (Baby Jane and Stalin's Cows) because Purge was not that well translated.

Maybe it is the original version that is badly written but somehow I doubt it since it has gotten tons of prizes. The fact is as well that the subject isn't much written about so that gives the book a lot of leverage. 

The book main story happens in 1992 but it fluctuates a lot. Almost every chapter is a different year. It goes from World War II to 1992. The main characters are two women, Zara and Aliide. Aliide lives in a little house in a little village in Estonia and Zara is a Russian girl forced into prostitution.

Well, here are my favourite quotes from the book:
Page 61: She carried herself like a dog that has to constantly look out for kids trying to step on its tail
Aliide describing Zara.
Page 72: She took the red leather skirt and red high-heeled shoes out of the cabinet. Her shirt was a child's shirt. Pasha thought that only children's shirts were tight enough to arouse men's desires
Zara waking up and getting dressed.
Page 170: His long armpit hair was yellowed with sweat and funguslike, in spite of its thickness, like rusted steel wool. A belly button like a cavern and balls that hung almost to his knees.
Aliide describing her husband Martin

I find that the book is supposed to shock and is written that way. It is a good book and I do recommend it. I liked it when I was reading it but the ending was horribly written/translated so it really ruined the entire book. I found as well that the characters were a bit to whiny and needed to put their big girl pants on and deal with it instead of whining in the corner. The "big secret" that this book is based on was as well not very well put out since I realized in the beginning of the book so the super emotional revelation was more ridiculous then anything else.

Damn, I was going to write good things about this book! Well next book (that's a lie it was weak as well!)

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