Thursday, 21 May 2015

Sofi Oksanen's Latest Novel Now Translated into English

A few years ago I was unaware of the works of  Finnish-Estonian writer Sofi Oksanen until I was given a copy of  Purge for Christmas in 2013.  I then quickly realised the significance of her work. In Purge Sofi Oksanen masterfully provides a deconstruction of Estonian history through the dark and harrowing past of the novel's two central characters. Much of the inspiration behind Purge came from the author's childhood experiences whilst visiting her grandmother in Soviet Estonia. It was in the countryside, not Tallinn, that Oksanen got to see the 'real Estonia'.

Purge is an international best seller and has been translated in 38 languages. Her latest novel, When the Doves Disappeared has recently been translated into English and is sure to be as gripping and psychologically engaging as Purge.

First published 2008, translated into English 2010.

Purge is a chilling drama of two generations of women, set in wartime 1940’s Estonia during the Soviet occupation, and in the same country in the 90’s as it grapples with the realities of a new Europe. Narrated through a polyphonic choir of individual voices, Purge tells the suspenseful and dramatic story of Aliide Truu, an old Estonian woman whose hands are soiled with the crimes she committed during the Soviet era, and Zara, a young trafficking victim who in the present has managed to escape and has come to seek shelter at Aliide’s countryside home. As the two women start to approach each other and the links between them are revealed, a tragic and complex family drama of rivalry, lust, and loss that plays out during the worst years of the Soviet occupation of Estonia unfolds. In this way, Purge becomes an investigation into the cost of survival in a repressive system.

First published 2012, translated into English 2015.

1941: In Communist-ruled, war-ravaged Estonia, two men have deserted the Red Army—Roland, a fiercely principled freedom fighter, and his slippery cousin Edgar. When the Germans arrive, Roland goes into hiding; Edgar abandons his unhappy wife, Juudit, and takes on a new identity as a loyal supporter of the Nazi regime... 1963: Estonia is again under Communist control, independence even further out of reach behind the Iron Curtain. Edgar is now a Soviet apparatchik, desperate to hide the secrets of his past life and stay close to those in power. But his fate remains entangled with Roland’s, and with Juudit, who may hold the key to uncovering the truth...

Sofi Oksanen has won numerous awards for her work including being named Person of the Year in 2009 by Estonian newspaper Postimees and in 2010 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves decorated her with the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana.

To learn more about Sofi Oksanen, please click here