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Purge (Kvartetti)

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3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,436 Ratings  ·  777 Reviews
Old Aliide Truu lives alone in a cottage in the woods, pestered by flies she wishes would leave her in peace. Her isolation is interrupted when she spies a young woman under a tree in her garden. The girl is strange; arriving in the dead of night, bruised, dirty and shoeless--why is she at Aliide's door? Overcome by curiosity the old woman decides, warily, to take her in. ...more
Paperback, 390 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Atlantic Books (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aubrey
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 Wom
...more
Jake Rideout
Feb 01, 2013 Jake Rideout rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm always a little nervous when I pick up a translated novel, because I've read a lot of bad translations in my day. Thanks to authors like Henning Mankell, Steig Larsson, and Ninni Holmqvist, there are more and more great translations coming from previously overlooked parts of the world. This is one of them. Oksanen is a new Finnish-Estonian novelist, and this is not the last you'll hear of her. Purge tells the story of two women: Aliide Truu, who lives alone in the Estonian countryside, and Z ...more
Praj
Jan 17, 2014 Praj rated it liked it
I have an affinity to books where the characters outshine the storyline. Such volumes craft a distinct memory that never seems to fade for years creating an imaginary bond with those characters; experiencing their pain and suffrage through your smallest nerves.Zara and Aliide will never die away from my mind as long as I will remember.

'Purge' is not a book about bulimia or anorexia. It is a metaphor for all those sinister culpabilities that an individual buries within his/her heart until the mom
...more
Megan
This book is bigger and stronger than it looks. I'm not sure how to do it justice, or even how to describe its place in the genre spectrum: feminist, literary, historical crime fiction, maybe, although that's still all over the spectrum. Purge most poignantly draws attention to the very clear thread between sexual violence and military occupation. It connects big picture violence (war and occupation) with more personal conflict and interpersonal tragedy (who betrays whom, and how, and why; how i ...more
Anachronist
Sep 06, 2012 Anachronist rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anachronist by: rameau
Synopsis:

You can call this book a tale of two sisters and indeed, it reminded me of all these folk songs about sibling rivalry. Ingel and Aliide, two Estonian peasant girls, had a very bad luck of falling for the same German boy. Ingel was very pretty, even beautiful, and whatever she did, she did it always better than other girls. Aliide was less pretty and less gifted, completely overshadowed by her perfect sister. The boy in question, Hans Pekk, chose Ingel. They married, were very happy and
...more
Daisy
Apr 16, 2012 Daisy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Daisy by: Amy Henry
Flies: a recurring theme. I mean presence. Character?

Interesting to grow to dislike the main character, Aliide, the more I read. The very end though has me stumped. Am I stupid? Did I miss something or is that last section unnecessary?

I didn't learn that much even though I've never read anything about Estonia before. I have read lots of Russian and Soviet stuff so some of that "tension" is familiar, all that not-knowing-who-you-can-trust stuff. I did love the details like horseradish in pickles
...more
rameau
I'm still raw after reading this. Not because of the gruesome bits of the plot, but because for the first time in a really long while I read a Finnish book by a Finnish author, and I don't know what to think. Too many times the pretentiousness has kept me away from domestic literary, but this time I'm glad I gave this book a chance.

Zara is the catalyst that brings life to a dormant life and allows Aliide finally let go of her past - some of it at least. The reader is walked through two differen
...more
Kjersti
Feb 08, 2011 Kjersti rated it it was amazing
I can still smell this novel; the sweat, the onions, the rayon dresses that must be burned because a certain man looked at you the wrong way, touched you the wrong way. Aliide Truu is an older woman living alone in her house in the Estonian countryside. One morning she notices a mound in her garden. A mound with blonde hair. A mound that, once Aliide decides to go outside and have a look, is wearing expensive stockings and is missing a slipper. Through a series of flashbacks we get to know the s ...more
Viv JM
Purge is a very unsettling read indeed. It tells the story of two women of different generations, against a backdrop of the Soviet occupation of Estonia. Each woman has secrets to hide, and these are slowly revealed over the course of the book. There is a strong undercurrent of violence and fear, though the violence is rarely explicitly described. And there are flies - so many flies. I am not sure what that is all about but read the book and you'll see what I mean!!
Alta
Purge by Sofi Oksanen (Trans. from the Finnish by Lola Rogers. Black Cat, 2010)

Having grown up in a communist country, I am skeptical when it comes to successful novels about communism written by writers who haven’t experienced it firsthand. That’s why even before I checked to see if Sofi Oksanen has grown up in Estonia, where her novel takes place, I suspected she hasn’t. It turns out she is Estonian on her mother’s side, but born in Finland. This is not to say that Oksanen’s novel isn’t good:
...more
Bjorn
Apr 24, 2013 Bjorn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finland, estonia
World War II and the cold war gave birth to the modern spy thriller, where everything was about uncovering secrets and false loyalties. In Purge, Oksanen seems to bury it once and for all, while at the same time reminding her readers that there are always going to be those who remember where the bodies are buried. The wars are over here, democracy and freedom have won the day, the KGB archives are opened, the oppressed are getting back what they lost and all the old lies are going to be uncovere ...more
Jenny
Jun 06, 2010 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. And I thought "Girl with the dragon tattoo" was too violent. This book takes some extreme examples of violent sexual abuse toward women and wraps a story about two women, somewhat related, around it. The authors intent here shows how little methods of control and abuse by men have changed; only the motivations have changed--as in then: political; now: profit. The horrors endured by these two have given them an uncommon common ground and their stories spin out backward from their first meeti ...more
Claire McAlpine
Purge by Sofi Oksanen is set in a rural village in the region of Läänemaa, west Estonia. The book is translated from Finnish by Lola Rogers.

It is a novel of two histories, one in the late 1930's and 1940's when Aliide and her sister Ingel were adolescents, spanning the changes in their lives after Estonia was annexed by the Soviet Union and renamed Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic (ESSR) and the other in the early 1990's when a Russian-Estonian girl Zara, turns up unannounced seeking refuge.

At
...more
Matti
Oct 27, 2011 Matti rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is propably the most hyped book in Finland since the days of Väinö Linna and Mika Waltari. For me, it was rather hard to understand why.

To give a short introduction on the many problems this book had: first, the writer made the basic mistake of all mediocre writers, which is to explain too much. I am talking, of course, about the psychological explanations with the characters. Its amazing how much you can explain the character's behavior without actually giving the character any depth. Some
...more
Antonomasia
Yes, it really is that good.

And I have been tired of books about the Second World War and the Eastern Bloc these last fifteen years, I nearly always avoid fiction where the plot appears to focus on women as victims, and I wasn't keen on the title, sounding as it does like a bulimia memoir from the "Painful Lives" section at WH Smith.

Not only did Purge, within its first few pages of bloody excellent writing, kick squarely through these barriers; by half-way through it even had me wanting to read
...more
Fionnuala
The main character in this fictional account of recent Estonian history is by turns heroic, blind, idealistic, stupid, endearing, despicable, faithful, disloyal, good, evil. And yet the author manages to make us love her in spite of everything. Oksanen also creates a very coherent story out of what at first appears to be no more than a series of horrifying fragments. A story that unfortunately resonates with a lot of truth. These things happened and are still happening. Will the Horror mankind i ...more
Milka
Feb 27, 2016 Milka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. For the first time in a long time I can honestly say that I am proud about being Finnish and proud about the fact that I speak language such as Finnish as my mother tongue.



After winning the Finlandia Prize (the most prestigious literary award in Finland, awarded to the best fiction book, best children's book and best non-fiction book, 30,000 euros) Sofi Oksanen has been everywhere. Literally. She is in the news, in the newspapers, everywhere. Probably a week after she won the prize I got to
...more
Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
May 25, 2010 Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This book 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 he
...more
Amy
Oct 31, 2015 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-weight
The book was an interesting look at a two women's lives as they come together in the most dire of circumstances. One is an estranged sister who did what she had to do to survive a war and her obsession with her brother-in-law whom she was in love with. The other was a prostitute on the run from her abusive employers. The book goes back and forth in time to show key moments in each woman's life. While the back stories were fascinating, I would have loved for the characters to speak in their own v ...more
Cheryl
You don't hear about this part of the world as often as you should. Here is one fiction writer who puts her homeland on the map with this novel of vivid imagery. A moving story of what women face during conflicts, what women faced during the Estonian conflict.

My problem was where the story started for me. Yes it was meant to be suspenseful but I felt teased. I think the plot could have been intertwined more with the suspense. It wasn't until I reached page 68, that I knew I wanted to keep readi
...more
Missy J
Aug 06, 2016 Missy J rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
description
Estonian forest.

Wow! What a story!

If it weren't for my book club, I wouldn't have picked this book up! I tried reading this 4 years ago, but due to a hectic schedule, ultimately gave up. However, four days ago, I picked it up again and was sucked into the story!

Where do I begin? One morning in 1992, Aliide Truu, an elderly woman, who used to be a Communist when Estonia was part of the Soviet Union, finds a bruised young woman in her garden. Now if I were Aliide, I would have rushed outside to he
...more
Anetq
I want to say it's a good book - but in reality it's very evil! It is also a good book, but it is about the evil things people do to each other - out of love, or envy, to make money, for the shifting ideologies or to cover up the evil that's been done to them - or just because they have that power over other human beings. What that does to people, and how they choose to deal with it.
The purge in the title can be interpreted as purging yourself of your past sins, or purging yourselv of your role
...more
Petra Miocic
http://procitajto.com/2015/08/22/ceis...

Koliko su puta dosad agenti i izdavači otkrili, kritičari priznali, a čitatelji s polica razgrabili novu književnu senzaciju, novu Agathu Christie, novog Dana Browna, novo… Sve je, naoko, novo, no malo je što među tim „novim“ i izvorno. Ta „novina“ za čitatelja može biti opterećujuća koliko i olakšavajuća; prepoznaje i igra na sigurno, očekuje i pritom se razočarava. A kad je nešto doista novo i izvorno, pompozne mu najave i probadajući nadnaslovi nisu pot
...more
Erin
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Even now, a few days after finishing Oksanen’s Purge, I am not sure how exactly how I feel about the story. Well, that’s not entirely true. I know how I feel. It’s sort of an “eh, umm, huh” kind of feeling. Problem is that doesn’t give me much to work with when comes to constructing a review.

The murky undertones of the piece are provocative to say the least, but I think the graphic nature of the content is a bit of a turn o
...more
Amy
Jun 07, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review for Sofi Oksanen’s book Purge is probably the most difficult I’ve ever done. I liked the book very much, but I’m terribly afraid of revealing spoilers, as the novel is so complicated and layered. I can easily describe it as one of my personal favorites, up there with Per Petterson and Tim Winton.



To begin, this book has nothing to do with eating disorders, and the only real complaint I have is that the cover art scarcely seems to apply to the complicated work within. After you’ve rea
...more
Kyriakos Sorokkou
This is my first Finnish book I read by a Fino-Estonian writer. The setting is Estonia as part of the Soviet Union and as a newly independent state. It is a grim grey story about two women, one old one young and their conflicting histories. I really liked the setting of Estonia in the 90's but I found the setting of the Estonian Soviet Republic too political to endure, since I'm not a great fan of soviet union communism and the like. But nevertheless it was an bleak, intimidating yet interesting ...more
Anca
Feb 06, 2015 Anca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-english, 2014
I am looking at my 2014 shelf and I see that, although I'm an Eastern European citizen, only 20% of the books I've read this year concern life outside the English speaking world. Of course I have an explanation/excuse for this huge bias - what is translated, what I have access to, the format of Romanian ebooks (this!) and so on. But I will use the coming of the New Year as an impulse to get to know a larger part of the world through books - I will make my first new year literary resolution - rea ...more
Lisa B
Aug 20, 2015 Lisa B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2011
It's tough to know where to begin when I'm reviewing this. What drew me to this book was the inside cover and hearing that the author had won the highest literary award available in Finland for her discussion of the sex trade. I'll start off by saying that the book wasn't what I expected. Second I'll say that it was a very uncomfortable read. Before I continue... 1) this will contain mild spoilers and 2) if reading about difficult (to say the least) sexual situations is not something you're comf ...more
Inga
Mar 30, 2011 Inga rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of different reviews and thoughts of this book prior to reading the book itself and usually these reviews were from one extreme to another. Since the book is about very delicate and tragic topics related to Estonian history, there were lots of emotions around the Purge.

Sofi Oksanen takes the reader back to the period prior and after the WW II and to the beginning of 90s and the book follows the main character Aliide through her life.

Second World War influenced Estonia and Estonians
...more
Linda
May 15, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Baltic states have always had problems with Russia. They are on a seacost that Russia would like and, apparently, that Russia thinks is rightfully hers. However, the Baltic states have been successful nations on their own for centuries and do not recognize any type of rule from Moscow.

So this book is fascinating in portraying Estonian life during and after WWII. Russians had invaded Estonia during the Hitler-Stalin pact, but when that collapsed, Germans invaded and were seen as liberators by
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Synopses in wrong language for some editions 10 61 Jan 11, 2012 01:59PM  
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Sofi Oksanen was born in Finland to a Finnish father and an Estonian mother. In 2010 she won the Nordic Council's Literature Prize for her third novel (originally a play), Puhdistus (Purge).
More about Sofi Oksanen...

Other Books in the Series

Kvartetti (3 books)
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“She found it hard to believe that there would be any bold moves, because too many people had dirty flour in their bags, and people with filthy fingers are hardly enthusiastic about digging up the past.” 5 likes
“Madre patria, contigo estoy triste, sin ti lo estoy más.” 2 likes
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