#CBR4 Review 08: Purge by Sofi Oksanen

17 Jan

Novels spanning family histories give the author an opportunity to create natural, compelling drama while highlighting certain social issues or historical events. I’ve always loved family histories, from Rich Man, Poor Man to East of Eden to anything by Wally Lamb, or Adriana Trigliani. This book was no different.

Purge focuses on Aliide, an older woman who lived through the major conflicts that have ripped Estonia apart during the twentieth century, who still lives in a small Estonian village. Aliide stumbles upon Zara in her yard, a sex trafficking victim, fluent in Estonian, who managed to escape her captors. Alternating between the two women’s perspectives, as well as flashing back to the past, the book is a heartbreaking tale of a family torn apart by the turmoil in Estonia over the past hundred years.

For me, the best part of this book was the intelligent, satisfying ending. The family’s strife is resolved at the end of the book, but the author decided against the “obvious” route of forgiveness and left many ends untied. I appreciated this for its realism, the credibility it gave the story, and because it really highlighted the motivations and emotions of the major characters.

As a note, the book was difficult for me to get through due to the fragmented writing style. Also, I was previously completely uneducated uneducated about Estonia and the plague of wars and revolutions that have dominated the country for the better part of the twentieth century. I had to keep stopping to look things up, which slowed my progress. This ended up being one of the things I loved about the book – it forced me to learn.

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One Response to “#CBR4 Review 08: Purge by Sofi Oksanen”

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  1. HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #08: Purge by Sofi Oksanen « Cannonball Read IV - January 17, 2012

    […] To read more… Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookEmailDiggStumbleUpon Posted by hellokatieo in Uncategorized and tagged CBR4, estonia, family histories, hellokatieo, purge, sofi oksanen […]

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