Purge
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Purge (Kvartetti)

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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  5,664 ratings  ·  583 reviews
Soon to be published in twenty-five languages, Sofi Oksanen's award-winning novel Purge is a breathtakingly suspenseful tale of two women dogged by their own shameful pasts and the dark, unspoken history that binds them.
When Aliide Truu, an older woman living alone in the Estonian countryside, finds a disheveled girl huddled in her front yard, she suppresses her misgivin...more
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Published March 30th 2010 by Grove/Atlantic (first published 2008)
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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
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
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
Daisy
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
Anachronist
Sep 06, 2012 Anachronist rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
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 that 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
Matti
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
Kjersti
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
Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
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
Jenny
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
Bjorn
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
Amy
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
Milka
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
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
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
Amy
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
Inga
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
Núria

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...more
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...more
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
Anna
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...more
Jukka
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...more
okyrhoe
A captivating story of loss, longing and betrayal, skillfully blending the personal with the political, where petty rivalries are as momentous as ideological conflicts and cultural prejudices.
Aliide and Zara as characters are portrayed with force and precision, multidimensional and with contradictory complexity. They will remain in my consciousness for some time to come.
The story is written in a spare, yet detailed, manner, showing rather than telling, and leaving the conclusions to the reader...more
Sam
I first heard about Sofi Oksanen's Purge through Willa's blog, and as soon as I read her review of it I knew I had to read it for myself. Finally, almost four months later, I managed to get my hands on a copy. Set in Estonia during the 1940s and 1990s, it is the story of two women who have both suffered abuse.

Aliide Truu is living an old-fashioned life in rural Estonia, cut off from all her neighbours. She is happy being self-sufficient until she finds Zara, a badly beaten woman, in her garden....more
Tesa Fiona
All she asked for was a little moment together in the park
- Purge, Sofi Oksanen

The smell of onion still left here within my memory; a reminder of a very poignant redemption. Before I continue my review, allow me to deliver my biggest appreciation of this piece of art to Sofi Oksanen; though my review can't properly portray the beauty and the pain of this book.

Soon from the start, I couldn't put it down, but in the same time, I didn't want the story to end that soon. I wanted to take it slowly so...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
Jocelyn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sylvia
I would have missed this book, if I hadn't been on GR. It is an excellent story, that tells the psychological struggle under the Soviet regime in Estonia, but also the struggle of a young Russian girl, born from Estonian deportees to find her roots.

Sofi Oskanen is certainly an author I want to read more. Her style is short and direct. I can't tell if the translation is correct, but I loved what I read.

The book is a brilliant switch between the actual events in Estonia in the nineties and the f...more
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Top Secret Letters at End (Spoilers) 3 40 Jul 04, 2014 03:12AM  
Around the World ...: Discussion for Purge 29 79 Mar 17, 2014 10:10AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Synopses in wrong language for some editions 10 59 Jan 11, 2012 01:59PM  
there are reviews of this title! 3 37 Sep 17, 2011 06:45AM  
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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...
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.” 1 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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