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Stalinin lehmät by Sofi Oksanen
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Stalinin lehmät

by Sofi Oksanen

Series: Quartet (1)

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Finnish (3)  Danish (2)  English (2)  Norwegian (1)  All (8)
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Stalinin lehmät (2003) on Finlandiavoittaja Sofi Oksasen esikoisteos. Kirjan päähenkilö on virolaistaustainen Anna, jolla on syömishäiriö (bulimia). Hänellä on sopeutumisvaikeuksia Suomessa ja hankaluuksia yhteydenpidossa Virossa asuvien sukulaisten kanssa. Annan äiti on Virosta ja isä Suomesta. Kirjan takaumajaksoissa kerrotaan äidin suvun elämästä Neuvosto-Virossa. Oksasella on oma tyylinsä, joka on osoittautunut voitolliseksi eri kirjallisuuspalkintojen muodossa ja siten, että kaikkia hänen kirjojaan on käännetty useille kielille. Stalinin lehmien käännösoikeudet on myyty 20 maahan. ( )
  roseraija | May 27, 2013 |
A journey through three generations of Estonian and Finnish-estonian women, dealing with oppression and with men, food and secrets as common denominators. Mainly this is the story of Anna who grows up in Finland with an Estonian mother and a (distant, at best) Finnish father. Her mother has a way of both shunning and holding on to her Estonian identity, with frequent travels behind the iron curtain to the old country while at home prompting Anna never to reveal her heritage in order not to be labled a "russian whore. This makes Anna feel both like an exile while being ashamed of her heritage at the same time, and she developes a pretty severe eating disorder. Her journey through selfdestructiion makes up for most of the book.

But it's also the story of Anna's mother Katriina's struggles in Soviet Estonia during the later days of communism, and her encounter with Finnish everyday racism and the dethroning of the Nice Western Man. And her grandmother's Sofia's hardships during the paranoid Stalin days after WW2, with family members getting shot or sent to Siberia.

This book gripped me from the start. I think the chain of oppression is beautifully developed, with an interesting link between the starvation in the Siberian work camps and the society inflected starvation by young western women today. There is a lot of anger here, and a lot of it really grips me. I was also interested in the complex relationship between Finland and Estonia, one that I didn't know much about before.

The book is too long however, and in the last couple of hundred pages it becomes repetitive, having already made it's points more than once. And sadly and shamefully, having read many accounts of anorexia and bulimia by now, I find myself feeling slighly blasé with those horrifying illnesses as literary themes. The descriptions tend to look pretty much alike, and this is no exception. This book has it's strength in the way it effortlessly lets themes mirror each other, rather than in any of the themes per se.

On a side note, this is one of the most gorgeous examples of contempory book design I own. A very very beautiful book, in an extremely readable format. ( )
1 vote GingerbreadMan | Aug 30, 2009 |
Showing 2 of 2
I finsk-estiske Sofi Oksanens oppsiktsvekkende debutroman portretteres tre kvinners liv: Sofia, Katariina og Anna – mormor, mor og datter. Anna vokser opp i Finland og lærer tidlig å benekte sin estiske bakgrunn, for Katariina vil beskytte datteren mot horestempelet estiske kvinner har fått. Men båndet til Estland er sterkt for begge – Katariinas hjemland der hennes mor bor, og Annas sted for de deiligste dufter og smaker.

Familiens fortellinger bæres videre. De handler om brutalitet, svik og nød under 2. verdesnkrig og i Sibirs fangeleire, og senere om sovjettidens varemangel og overvåkingssamfunn.

Anna tar den estiske historien inn, som hun tar inn det vestlige varesamfunnet og skjønnhetsdyrkelsen. I all hemmelighet utvikler hun en ekstrem spiseforstyrrelse, og tror hun har full kontroll.

Stalins kyr er en stor fortelling om hvordan historiske erfaringer krysser generasjoner, landegrenser og samfunnsformer.
 
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