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What a great book And first of all thanks to 7Jane of Finland and Jim of New Hampshire who recommended Finnish authors and works to me This is a psychological thriller set in rural Estonia There are only two major characters The first is an elderly woman who, as we learn her story, is the textbook definition of a survivor She been through WW II, starvation, rape, torture, a dead husband and lost family Her only remaining family members, a sister and a niece, were exiled to far eastern Russi What a great book And first of all thanks to 7Jane of Finland and Jim of New Hampshire who recommended Finnish authors and works to me This is a psychological thriller set in rural Estonia There are only two major characters The first is an elderly woman who, as we learn her story, is the textbook definition of a survivor She been through WW II, starvation, rape, torture, a dead husband and lost family Her only remaining family members, a sister and a niece, were exiled to far eastern Russia, thousands of miles away, because the sister was suspected of aiding and sheltering her husband, an anti Soviet freedom fighter The older woman had been secretly in love with her brother in law for years and now with the sister exiled, maybe she can finally have him to herself if he s still alive and if he takes the risk of reappearing These events happened during the Soviet occupation of Estonia, then the German occupation, and then the Soviets again, and each time the political domination changed there were retaliations and round ups of traitors and freedom fighters The retaliation continues today because some villagers remember the older lady cooperating with one side or the other and they harass her by killing her dog, throwing rocks at her house and setting fires She lives in constant fear for her safety.Times are still tough These rural folks are almost in a subsistence life, raising chickens and growing and canning most of what they have to eat Enter the second character, a young woman running away from sex slavery, being chased by two goons Believe me, the young woman has come to the right place for protection because you want this elderly lady on your side She pulls no punches The elderly lady and the young woman are loaded with secrets and while the young woman lives with her they begin a back and forth dance of how much they can reveal to each other view spoiler The older woman does not know it at first, but the young woman is her grandniece that s why she escaped to her house, knowing where she lived from stories her grandmother the woman s sister told her hide spoiler There s a surprising twist at the end by which we learn that this novel of hardship, survival and resilience turns out to be just as much a novel about obsessive love This novel, Purge, is the author s best known and most awarded work Sofi Oksanen grew up in central Finland to a Finnish father and an Estonian mother Although set in Estonia, dreams of Helinki, Finland, only 50 miles away across the Gulf of Finland, dominate the economy and the thoughts of the locals This is a great book I m putting it on my favorites 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 areandgreat 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 Z 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 areandgreat 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 I don t have to like people I m reading about but I like to understand them Their behaviors and motivations I like them multidimensional I may disagree with them, despise sometimes, hate even But I like when they make me uncomfortable, when they prove me how lucky I m not being them or how wrong I was in my assumptionsPurgeis dense and suffocating reading, full of secrets, resentments and lies Sofi Oksanen has created a very ambiguous and unsettling protagonists and while it is pretty I don t have to like people I m reading about but I like to understand them Their behaviors and motivations I like them multidimensional I may disagree with them, despise sometimes, hate even But I like when they make me uncomfortable, when they prove me how lucky I m not being them or how wrong I was in my assumptionsPurgeis dense and suffocating reading, full of secrets, resentments and lies Sofi Oksanen has created a very ambiguous and unsettling protagonists and while it is pretty natural to sympathize with Zara, young runaway from abusive partner, yet character of Allida arouses mixed feelings Allida Truu, only her name evokes something true, is muchcomplex and complicated character and her history is long and twisted like history of her native Estonia She is victim and culprit She is vulnerable and predatory, innocent and snaky, good and evil And both, Aliide and Zara, are survivors.Novel spans some decades from Estonian s history, from wartime through Soviet system to post war reality and regain independence With visceral and raw prose Oksanen perfectly rendered atmosphere of oppression and danger and vividly described choking fear when one has to live with the consequences of their choices, when every single day is a struggle, both with the real enemy and own conscience, when a way to purge if only possible leads through daily purgatory.4.5 5 4.5 5It s a rare occasion when the title for a book reveals itself as evidence of not a whim or facile plucking of a simplistic keyword, but of cold and careful analysis of the very viscera of the work Evenof a feat when considering that the book is a translation, and that the title could have easily been ruined by the commercial gauging of the US market The original title of Stieg Larsson s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was M n som hatar kvinnor Translated literally, Men Who Hate Wom 4.5 5It s a rare occasion when the title for a book reveals itself as evidence of not a whim or facile plucking of a simplistic keyword, but of cold and careful analysis of the very viscera of the work Evenof a feat when considering that the book is a translation, and that the title could have easily been ruined by the commercial gauging of the US market The original title of Stieg Larsson s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was M n som hatar kvinnor Translated literally, Men Who Hate Women, a title which retained would have harnessed the rabidly popular heights the book achieved mucheffectively, in my mind.Ah well No use crying over wasted potential.The word purge speaks of both physical and political, bodily cleansing and cultural expulsion, as well as the forcible expunging of sin and impurities That is the theme here, played out against the gigantic backdrop of history and the smaller curtains of men and their hate for women Flies, communism, and psychological warfare, fully sunken into the culture of Estonia, its neighboring countries, and the minds of two women And yet, for all that, not a hint of sentiment in the descriptions of bucolic mentalities at work in the soil, old world superstitions acted out in herb and blood, bowel gutting atrocities conducted as so much bureaucratic machinations and generating paperwork as such If there s preserves to be made, the preserves are made If there s plants to be picked during a certain hour to ensure health and wellness, the plants are picked If there s a devil with a gigantic hairy cock to be tattooed on a female victim of human trafficking, likewise Instead, the pages are subsumed in the fragility of the minds carrying the story forward, the stutterings and stops of the finest clockwork that eventually manage to click back into a forward surge, but not without a few screws sacrificed in the bargaining for survival Poe comes to mind, but with a littleconcrete horror and much less internal fuss The novel itself has a penchant for laying traps for those eager to speed through on the lines of a well oiled plot If the depictions of events horrifying in both their content and their systematic conductance don t work, there s the timeline jumping all around the passage of fifty odd years in the words of multiple narrators to contend with And of course, the unreliability of them all, but with each of them in their own personal crucible of body and mind, you can hardly blame them Save, perhaps, for overseer of all this, an omniscience that despite many stirrings up the story with a well placed poke or many, enough to flay the interrogated mind and set it to brokenly tumble through the night forever manages to miss so much Put a soul through enough purging, and it ll insanely clasp the surviving obsessions to its emaciated breast all the tighter.A final note I don t usually take the cover into consideration, but the one of my particular edition does not do the story justice It wouldn t even take much to fix it up, really Just a hint of maggots squirming under the wholesome bread, a fly or two needling its shit stained legs on redly ripe apples The subtler, and consequentlyhorrifically shocking for the noticing reader, the better Purge was my introduction to Sofi Oksanen and, in fact, my introduction to Finnish lit in general Oksanen herself is Finnish Estonian I think this is a fascinating, flawed, and surprising book it both delivers what it claims to on the blurb, and also takes the story in a direction that I was not at all expecting Set in twentieth century Estonia, Purge follows the lives of two women, Aliide and Zara Aliide is an older woman living alone in a remote Estonian village, and Zara is a young sex Purge was my introduction to Sofi Oksanen and, in fact, my introduction to Finnish lit in general Oksanen herself is Finnish Estonian I think this is a fascinating, flawed, and surprising book it both delivers what it claims to on the blurb, and also takes the story in a direction that I was not at all expecting Set in twentieth century Estonia, Purge follows the lives of two women, Aliide and Zara Aliide is an older woman living alone in a remote Estonian village, and Zara is a young sex trafficking victim who shows up on her doorstep one day The novel explores the relationship and the secret connection between the two women this much I was expecting from the summary but their relationship is almost backdrop to Oksanen s unflinching examination of Soviet occupation.If Purge has one major flaw, it has to be its momentum, or lack thereof The first hundred pages which chronicle Aliide discovering Zara on her doorstep are almost entirely unnecessary and I found the coda rather excessive as well It s only in Part 2 when the story makes a radical time jump backward to Aliide s childhood do the wheels really start turning But even then, a rather baffling and almost Victor Hugo esque inclusion of chapter titles insists on neutering the impact of several key moments by announcing their arrival before you even begin the chapter I won t include examples so as to not spoil anything, but while I appreciated the effect at first, it grew wearisome I do wonder if this is a convention of Finnish publishing or an offbeat choice on Oksanen s part.But all that said, once you get into the meat of this book, it has a lot to offer Aliide is a brilliantly crafted character shades of Atonement litter her narrative, though Purge is an altogether messier affair and the relentless description of Soviet occupation in Estonia strongly evokes a time and a place that I previously knew almost nothing of And it s less a story about these two women Aliide and Zara coming together, than a commentary on the unending injustices faced by women in modern history It s a stark, bleak book that won t have much to offer to anyone who needs levity or a protagonist to root for, but I found it very striking I doubt it s a book I will be forgetting in a hurry I have an affinity to books where the characters outshine the storyline Such volumes craft a distinct memory that never seems to fade for years creating an imaginary bond with those characters experiencing their pain and suffrage through your smallest nerves.Zara and Aliide will never die away from my mind as long as I will remember Purge is not a book about bulimia or anorexia It is a metaphor for all those sinister culpabilities that an individual buries within his her heart until the mom I have an affinity to books where the characters outshine the storyline Such volumes craft a distinct memory that never seems to fade for years creating an imaginary bond with those characters experiencing their pain and suffrage through your smallest nerves.Zara and Aliide will never die away from my mind as long as I will remember Purge is not a book about bulimia or anorexia It is a metaphor for all those sinister culpabilities that an individual buries within his her heart until the moment of truth where it all erupts like smoldering lava destroying every possibility of tranquility Oksanen puts forth a riveting account of human lives that are trapped in a web of uncouth circumstances and repelling emotions making the cost of survival nauseating and demeaning.Set in the early 1990s,the book is structured into five parts each going back and forth in time connecting the lives of the two women Estonia a few years shy to reclaiming its independence the last Russian troops left on August 31, 1994 was under the communist rule of the Soviet Poverty, unemployment raked throughout the country s landscape creating a spate of thefts and squalor Aliide Truu, an elderly woman spent her days preserving candied fruits and cultivating her modest vegetable farm whilst waiting for the weekly visits from her daughter Talvi The nights were frightening to Aliide as it went by trying to evade the local hooligans from stoning and robbing her tattered home On one such night, there was a shadow lurking on Aliide s front yard It was a hapless young woman, battered, abused, writhing in fear and pain She was a Russian who spoke broken Estonian and her name was Zara The sudden intrusion of a stranger in Aliide s life was about to open her convoluted past, resurfacing the buried disgrace and guilt Zara Zara lived a recluse and impoverished life with her grandmother and mother Her grandmother Ingel rarely speaks, so does her mother Linda Her desire to bring financial security to her family leads her into a network of prostitution and sexual slaveryOver the past year she had forgotten all the normal ways of being with people how to get to know a person, how to have a conversation and she couldn t think of a segue to break the silenceTerrified with the unfortunate events Zara finally escapes from her pimps and finds shelter in Aliide s home Zara coming to Aliide is not a mere concurrence The photograph that Zara carried when she left her home was the thread that connected Aliide and Zara, revealing a torrent of uncultivated relations.Zara s characterization throws a light on the tedious circumstances that Eastern Europe endured in the early 1990s The political pandemonium and deteriorating economical landscapes led to vast immigration and impecunious survival The silence that prevailed over Ingel or Linda was suffocating making you wonder about the immense torture that a human heart endures, coercing it to find refuge in a vacuumed world The packed suitcases, the trembling with slightest clatter portrayed the acute fear that thrives within the victims of war.Aliide Aliide could never comprehend the jealousy she nurtured for her elder sister for marrying her bashful love Hans All through her life she was the black sheep the ugly duckling failing to be a swan Her life in the 1940s was propelled in a vortex of wrecked dreams, war, deportation and the sudden disappearance of her parents What distressed Aliide was losing her only love Hans to her elder sister Thus, began an inundation of sheer vengeance and wrong doings in order to pacify the agitated broken soul The entry of Zara into her life created a flutter, throwing Aliide into a muddle of endless shame and remorse which she had buried long ago.Aliide resembles the many, who out of fallacious sentiments step into untoward verdicts and regretting it forever Aliide loved her sister dearly, but the ignominy that engulfed her soul restricted her from making amends and ending her solitude.Oksanen has an incredible quality of cautiously peeling the human mind set exposing every layer of reckless choices and heartfelt redemptions It is a common occurrence to see a translated script losing its strength and significance Purge banishes all these fears with Lola Rogers doing an excellent job, restoring Oksanen s depiction of Estonian spirit and history .FREE PDF ☱ Expurgo ☫ Uma das maiores sensa es liter rias recentes na Europa, este bel ssimo e fascinante romance de estr ia de Sofi Oksanen destaca a jovem autora finlandesa de origem estoniana como uma das mais promissoras vozes de sua gera o Fen meno de vendas nos pa ses escandinavos, com mais demil exemplares vendidos na Finl ndia, Expurgo alcan ou os primeiros lugares de diversas listas na Europa, onde foi adaptado para o teatro e teve os direitos negociados para o cinema Traduzido para mais depa ses, foi o primeiro romance a conquistar os dois pr mios mais prestigiados da Finl ndia o Finlandia Awarde o Runeberg Prize, al m do Nordic Council Literature Prize, mais importante pr mio concedido pelos pa ses n rdicos, e o Le Prix du Roman FNAC, pr mio franc s que pela primeira vez contemplou um autor estrangeiro, entre outrosAclamado por sua corajosa desconstru o da hist ria, sua sensibilidade psicol gica e pelo comovente retrato da mulher e da experi ncia feminina com a perda da liberdade, Expurgo um drama repleto de tens o sobre duas mulheres de diferentes gera es unidas por suas pr prias hist rias de mentiras, desespero e medo e um passado tr gico em uma regi o subjugada pelo terror sovi tico No dia em que a velha e solit ria Aliide encontra a jovem Zara encolhida no quintal de sua casa, em um vilarejo rural da Est nia, segredos inconfess veis e trag dias pessoais emergem de seis d cadas de hist ria do pa s, da subjuga o pelos nazistas e a ocupa o sovi tica, at os ca ticos anos que se seguiram ao colapso da URSSIsolada, em meio a ervas secas e potes de conservas que produz, Aliide esconde um terr vel segredo, que imaginava sepultado com o fim do comunismo No entanto, o passado volta a confront la com a chegada da amedrontada Zara Em , a jovem vive um drama t pico de seu tempo V tima da violenta m fia russa da prostitui o, ela consegue fugir de seus captores e, n o por acaso, busca em Aliide prote oSob o mesmo teto, as duas mulheres precisam vencer o sil ncio, o medo e a desconfian a m tua Descortina se aos poucos uma tr gica saga familiar forjada tanto por hist rias de vidas privadas quanto pela grande Hist ria do s culo XX na Europa Com uma narrativa carregada de emo o e suspense, Sofi Oksanen nos conduz a um universo de paix es, culpas, vergonha, trai es e escolhas radicais pela sobreviv ncia nos piores anos da opress o sovi tica Ao mesmo tempo tr gico e otimista, Expurgo uma hist ria de resist ncia Uma dura batalha pela resist ncia individual e coletiva Atrav s das vidas cruzadas de Aliide e Zara, a autora repassa a trajet ria de uma regi o sucessivamente subjugada e violentada, mas ao mesmo tempo em permanente luta para viver em paz e expurgar o passado This book is bigger and stronger than it looks I m not sure how to do it justice, or even how to describe its place in the genre spectrum feminist, literary, historical crime fiction, maybe, although that s still all over the spectrum Purge most poignantly draws attention to the very clear thread between sexual violence and military occupation It connects big picture violence war and occupation withpersonal conflict and interpersonal tragedy who betrays whom, and how, and why how i This book is bigger and stronger than it looks I m not sure how to do it justice, or even how to describe its place in the genre spectrum feminist, literary, historical crime fiction, maybe, although that s still all over the spectrum Purge most poignantly draws attention to the very clear thread between sexual violence and military occupation It connects big picture violence war and occupation withpersonal conflict and interpersonal tragedy who betrays whom, and how, and why how it becomes so easy for people to use one another The inhumanity, the dehumanization, present in this book is very, very crushing And it s additionally difficult, thinking about current world affairs and knowing that things like this are happening now, still.It s a very dark read, but not exploitative, despite the exploitation the major characters suffer The main character, Aliide, is complicated, and not knowing what to think of her, not being able to place her in just one box of victim, villain, selfless, selfish, is partly what kept me turning the pages Purge is a very unsettling read indeed It tells the story of two women of different generations, against a backdrop of the Soviet occupation of Estonia Each woman has secrets to hide, and these are slowly revealed over the course of the book There is a strong undercurrent of violence and fear, though the violence is rarely explicitly described And there are flies so many flies I am not sure what that is all about but read the book and you ll see what I mean Synopsis You can call this book a tale of two sisters and indeed, it reminded me of all these folk songs about sibling rivalry Ingel and Aliide, two Estonian peasant girls, had a very bad luck of falling for the same German boy Ingel was very pretty, even beautiful, and whatever she did, she did it always better than other girls Aliide was less pretty and less gifted, completely overshadowed by her perfect sister The boy in question, Hans Pekk, chose Ingel They married, were very happy and Synopsis You can call this book a tale of two sisters and indeed, it reminded me of all these folk songs about sibling rivalry Ingel and Aliide, two Estonian peasant girls, had a very bad luck of falling for the same German boy Ingel was very pretty, even beautiful, and whatever she did, she did it always better than other girls Aliide was less pretty and less gifted, completely overshadowed by her perfect sister The boy in question, Hans Pekk, chose Ingel They married, were very happy and soon they had a little baby girl, Linda Despite that fact Aliide never stopped loving Hans her torment made her slowly ruin her own life and the life of her closest relatives, with a little help from the Russian communists who were simply great at ruining people s lives whenever they went.The novel starts when elderly and widowed Aliide, living alone in a half deserted village, finds a strange girl near her house The girl needs help very badly she is hungry, filthy and it is obvious she s been beaten regularly In spite of her initial fear Aliide empathizes with her too much to ignore her she invites her inside, gives her a bath, some fresh clothes and food The girl is called Zara and it seems she is running from the Mafia men Gradually, as the story unfurls, you find out it was hardly by accident that Zara wandered to Aliide s house she sought out that woman because they are actually related Still at first Zara tells a lot of lies only later revealing a very disturbing and sad truth about herself and her situation It makes Aliide reminisce about the difficult times under the Soviet rule ironically nothing changed Her own youth was full of horrible experiences as well, similar to those of young Zara, Will these two women help each other Will they understand each other s decisions Will they become family again My impressions I was very deeply moved by this book as a result my review is muchpersonal and a bit different than usual I felt connected to it onthan one level Believe me or not but it was a book which kept me awake at night and gave me nightmares a very rare occurrence It was a book that reminded me of some simple truths, namely that life is a bitch and sometimes you simply cannot do anything about it One stupid decision might ruin your future and sometimes no decision is needed at all because, no matter what you do your life will be ruined anyway it s your fate, karma, politics, war, or other stupid circumstances completely beyond your control It was a book that made me want to howl with rage and cry.It was a book that portrayed love at its cruelest and most beautiful It made me pet my dog for hours because animals, seen from some aspects, are far better than humans they never judge you by appearances and, as long as you treat them well, they will pay you back with love and lasting attachment It was a book which, like ancient tragedies, was able to trigger a haunting catharsis, a purge promised in the title Have you read or seen Atonement Compared to this one, Atonement seemed to me just like a child s prattle, nothingBecause sometimes you can t atone for your sins, no matter what you do.It was a book I couldn t stop reading even though I hadpressing tasks at hand I got sucked into it and, although I was very uncomfortable from time to time, I didn t want to leave till the last word Final verdict Heartrending Incredibly sad and wise Hauntingly beautiful The plot and the characters are like an accident waiting to happen you can t divert your eyes even though nobody forces you to watch Easily the best book I ve read this year still hardly a novel which will leave you warm and fuzzy inside