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Purge (Kvartetti)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  6,975 ratings  ·  676 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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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
Jake Rideout
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
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
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
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
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
Sep 06, 2012 Anachronist rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anachronist by: rameau

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
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:
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
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
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
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
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
Zohar -
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
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
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
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
Petra Miocic

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
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
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
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
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
Lisa B
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
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
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

Aliide y Zara son las dos protagonistas de 'Purga' de Sofi Oksanen, una novela escrita en finés y ambientada principalmente en Estonia. Es la historia de supervivencia de dos mujeres y también la historia de la miseria en dos países, Estonia y la Unión Soviética: el primero asolado por la segunda guerra mundial y las consiguientes ocupaciones militares y el segundo que no ofrece ninguna oportunidad de mejora (económica) a las personas de origen humilde. Es una novela dura, muy dura, que habla de
Bar Shirtcliff
I couldn't put Purge down, so, I read it in one day. This is a disturbing story about how two women survived a tumultuous era in Estonian history. In particular, the story turns on the private monomania of one woman and her struggle to survive with it.

The book lacks symmetry in a way that I won't explain for fear of making this a spoiler. Okay, I'll try to explain it. Oksanen chose an impossible heroine in Aliid. By impossible, I don't mean intractable or unfriendly, which she was, but actually
Shawn Bird
This is a very *Finnish* book. If you're Finnish, you'll know what I mean. If you're not, I'm not sure I can explain. There's a very particular ethos about it: things said and unsaid, hints given, words spoken but more running between the lines, things known, but more unknown. The story spans 40 years, and goes back and forth between years and individuals. Narration happens by letter, by files, by interior monologues. It's confusing. It's fascinating. The story is dark, encompassing Estonia as a ...more
This book has won a ton of prizes in Finland and all over Europe.
It's a story with nothing really missing from it, complete, and with flavors and smells mixed in it. The flavors and scents of the food and nature reminded me of Like Water For Chocolate. And it's got a lot about the history. That of Estonia, something that is new for mostly everyone who isn't from there.
Zara, a Russian girl, a sex slave, escapes and finds herself in front of the house of Aliide, an old Estonian woman. Their stor
Puhdistus English title: Purge - Sofi Oksanen

High compliment: This is the most like Margaret Atwood, since i last read Atwood, although there is clearly no direct influence or any attempt to copy. I still am desperately trying to put parts of the story back together in my head.

Pretty early on in the reading i anticipated the general direction and arc of the book -- or thought i did. What i could not foresee was how high you get to go along that arc, that this story just keeps going up even after
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Top Secret Letters at End (Spoilers) 6 66 Jun 14, 2015 09:19AM  
500 Great Books B...: Purge - Sofi Oksanen - Aubrey 3 23 Nov 06, 2014 04:07AM  
Around the World ...: Discussion for Purge 26 89 Mar 17, 2014 10:10AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Synopses in wrong language for some editions 10 61 Jan 11, 2012 01:59PM  
there are reviews of this title! 3 40 Sep 17, 2011 06:45AM  
  • Missä kuljimme kerran
  • Jää
  • Juoksuhaudantie
  • Täällä Pohjantähden alla 1–3
  • Kätilö
  • Nälkävuosi
  • Mielensäpahoittaja
  • Raja
  • Sudenmorsian
  • Punainen erokirja
  • Hytti nro 6
  • Myöhempien aikojen pyhiä
  • Neljäntienristeys
  • Metsäjätti
  • Maa on syntinen laulu
  • Sinun lapsesi eivät ole sinun
  • Tummien perhosten koti
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 (4 books)
  • Stalinin lehmät
  • Kun kyyhkyset katosivat
  • Norma
Stalinin lehmät Baby Jane Kun kyyhkyset katosivat Liian lyhyt hame: kertomuksia keittiöstä: laululyriikkaa Puhdistus - Näytelmäversio

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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.” 3 likes
“Selvom det var Zaras ansigt, der kunne ses på Pashas video, fortalte den ikke noget om Zara, men om Natasha, den måtte aldrig nogensinde blive en fortælling om Zara. Zaras egen historie var et helt andet sted, Natashas var på båndet.” 1 likes
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