Book Review: Purge by Sofi Oksanen

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I bor­rowed this book from my mother.

Purge by Sofi Oksanen

"Purge" is a fic­tional story tells the story of three gen­er­a­tions of Eston­ian women (and the men in their lives).The book chap­ters jump in time to tell the tale of some hor­ri­fy­ing events in their lives which cor­re­spond to the his­tor­i­cal events which take Esto­nia, in gen­eral, and their rural vil­lage specif­i­cally through WWII, soviet rule and independence.
 
The story cen­ters around two women, Ali­ide Truu and Zara who is the vic­tim of a sex-trafficking oper­a­tion and ends up in Aliide’s home while run­ning away from her cap­tors. Only that Zara has a pic­ture of Ali­ide and her sis­ter, her arrival wasn’t coin­ci­den­tal. By the end of the book we find out how the women try to purge their soul, name and their past.
There is a psy­cho­log­i­cal side to this book, which I felt was more fas­ci­nat­ing than the his­tor­i­cal side. Aliide’s moti­va­tions are a prod­uct of lost love and jeal­ously, but her actions are a prod­uct of sur­vival in an oppress­ing soci­ety; she cheats on her hus­band and turns in her sis­ter to the author­i­ties. Hans, Aliide’s brother in law and the sub­ject of her fan­tasies, is a Nazi sym­pa­thizer and a murderer.
Zara, on the other hand, goes look­ing for easy money and gets caught up in the harsh and vio­lent world of pros­ti­tu­tion. When Zara arrives on Aliide’s doorstep, a Pandora’s box is opened and shines a light of decades of abused women both in Com­mu­nis­tic as well as Demo­c­ra­tic societies.
As men­tioned, the book is not writ­ten in chrono­log­i­cal order, but the story unfolds very sim­ply, in a coun­try where noth­ing seems as it is, under a gov­ern­ment which is vig­i­lant, oppres­sive, cruel and para­noid, yet has taken the role of a nanny which has many peo­ple so depen­dent on it they almost for­got how to take care of themselves.
The char­ac­ters in this book are drawn very well, no-one is what he or she seems to be, the world is filled with dan­gers and the extremes we (Amer­i­cans) are so used to sim­ple do not exist.
The author, Sofi Oksa­nen, is a Finnish author. Her father is from Fin­land but her mother is Eston­ian. She was won numer­ous lit­er­ary prizes includ­ing the pres­ti­gious Fin­lan­dia Prize in 2008.
"Purge" is a won­der­ful book; I highly rec­om­mend it to both men and women of all nations. I cer­tainly hope more peo­ple will read this won­der­ful novel which, as we all know, don’t come around as often as we would like them to..

My rat­ing for Purge — 5 Please leave a com­ment if you agree or dis­agree with my review, or just to say hello.

Zohar — Man of La Book

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