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Puhdistus by Sofi Oksanen
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Puhdistus (original 2008; edition 2003)

by Sofi Oksanen

Series: Quartet (2)

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1,061887,907 (4)79
Member:Manteli
Title:Puhdistus
Authors:Sofi Oksanen
Info:Werner Soderstrom Os (2003), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Purge by Sofi Oksanen (2008)

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» See also 79 mentions

English (41)  Finnish (10)  Spanish (7)  French (7)  Swedish (6)  Catalan (4)  German (4)  Dutch (3)  Danish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Galician (1)  Lithuanian (1)  All languages (87)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Beautifully written but dark and disturbing. It reminded me in style a lot of the 'Dragon Tattoo' series. I finished not quite understanding what had happened though - which left me thinking I need to go back and read it more closely - especially the chapters about Aliide's experiences the Soviet occupation. ( )
  stevedore | Dec 9, 2013 |
With a title like "Purge," I expected the book to end with some big emotional catharsis. Instead, it just ends, and you're left to wonder how the two main characters dealt with the turn of events. I don't expect everything to have a happy ending, but this doesn't even feel like it has an ending. The characters tiptoe around the main topic for most of the book, and then instead of showing you how they behave when everything comes out into the light of day, the author just says, basically, "And then Zara left." Disappointing to say the least. ( )
  akswede | Oct 14, 2013 |
4.5/5

It'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. Even more of 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 Män som hatar kvinnor. Translated literally, Men Who Hate Women, a title which retained would have harnessed the rabidly popular heights the book achieved much more effectively, 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 little more concrete 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 forevermore) 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 consequently more horrifically shocking for the noticing reader, the better. ( )
  Korrick | Sep 12, 2013 |
Purge is a compelling story, albeit a dark one which at times makes for difficult reading—those who are triggered by issues of sexual violence would do well to avoid it. The novel shifts back and forth in time between the period immediately around the Second World War and the early 1990s; during the earlier period, we see Aliide Truu as a young woman, in the latter as an elderly woman who opens her door one day to find a terrified, abused young woman called Zara lying in her farm yard. Purge contains most of the hallmarks of Greek tragedy—betrayal and long-simmering hatred, collusion and passionate desire and resolve which can turn murderous. Aliide is perhaps a more thoroughly imagined character than is Zara, for all that she is never likeable and her actions are sometimes not quite believable. I'm also not quite sure as to the reasons for Oksanen's including that last chapter—either it simply confirmed everything the reader has previously been told or has inferred, or there was some new piece of information in there that I missed. Still, these are minor quibbles with what is otherwise a very solid book. ( )
  siriaeve | Aug 3, 2013 |
An excellent novel - more like a thriller - set against the turbulent background of Estonian history. It is the story of two sisters, of treachery, fear, love and guilt. Estonia is a main character in its own right, exerting its nationalism and its survival instinct against all odds. Super despite the constant flashbacks. ( )
  jon1lambert | Jul 20, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
”Utrensning” är en helt igenom mörk roman, men med en konstnärlig lyskraft som förbluffar.
added by Jannes | editDn, Jonas Thente (Feb 2, 2010)
 
added by annek49 | editSvD, Elise Karlsson (Jan 29, 2010)
 
added by annek49 | editNRK, Marta Norheim (Jan 28, 2010)
 
added by annek49 | editDagsavisen, Turid Larsen (Jan 27, 2010)
 

» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sofi Oksanenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Orlov, JaninaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Information from the Finnish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
seinillä on korvat ja korvissa kauniit korvarenkaat

Paul-Eerik Rummo
Dedication
First words
Information from the Finnish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
toukokuu 1949

Vapaan Viron puolesta!

On yritettävä kirjoittaa muutama sananen, jotta järki pysyisi päässä eikä mieli murtuisi.
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Information from the Finnish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please do not combine the novel and theatrical/play versions of Puhdistus/Puhastus/Purge/Utrenskning/Zuivering. These are separate and distinct works.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
An international sensation, Sofi Oksanen’s award-winning novel Purge is a breathtakingly suspenseful tale of two women dogged by their own shameful pasts and the dark, unspoken history that binds them.

When Aliide Truu, an older woman living alone in the Estonian countryside, finds a disheveled girl huddled in her front yard, she suppresses her misgivings and offers her shelter. Zara is a young sex-trafficking victim on the run from her captors, but a photo she carries with her soon makes it clear that her arrival at Aliide’s home is no coincidence. Survivors both, Aliide and Zara engage in a complex arithmetic of suspicion and revelation to distill each other’s motives; gradually, their stories emerge, the culmination of a tragic family drama of rivalry, lust, and loss that played out during the worst years of Estonia’s Soviet occupation.

Sofi Oksanen establishes herself as one the most important voices of her generation with this intricately woven tale, whose stakes are almost unbearably high from the first page to the last. Purge is a fiercely compelling and damning novel about the corrosive effects of shame, and of life in a time and place where to survive is to be implicated.
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Aliide Truu, an older woman guilty of crimes during the Soviet occupation of Estonia, takes in a young woman, Zara, who is trying to escape a sex-trafficking ring, and as they work through their suspicion, the two rediscover a tragic family history from the past.… (more)

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