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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  2,203 ratings  ·  211 reviews
Lappland, sommeren 1944. Jordmora, kalt «Villøye», er datter av en foraktet kommunist og har levd som en utstøtt hele livet. Så møter hun den tyske offiseren Johannes, som ser henne slik ingen annen har gjort. Hun slipper alt og følger ham til fangeleiren Titovka, der han er utstasjonert. Der må hun delta i den nådeløse behandlingen av de internerte russiske krigsfangene. ...more
Hardcover, 1st edition, 304 pages
Published 2013 by Pax (first published 2011)
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3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,203 ratings  ·  211 reviews

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The Midwife is written by Finnish author Katja Kettu and takes place during World War II and during the different tug of war between the Soviet Union and Germany for control of Finland.

The base story is good, but the opening makes it hard to want to continue. There is a detailed timeline of events with little reference for a reader that is not well-versed in the Finnish territory and revolts against powers during WWII. This sums up the main problem of the book for me. The Author being Finnish a
Ken Fredette
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Katja Kettu wrote a wonderful story about her grandmother during WWII. It was mostly a love story but it was filled with spies and betrayals. Johannes and Weird-Eye Schwester were lovers for only 9 months but had a relationship that was both harmful and loving at the same time. It was fraught with killings and amnesia and was about a German prisoner of war camp in northern Finland and how they operated during the war. It will haunt you, it does me.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-finland, dnf
There be nsfw input here.

Sorry, Katja, but I'm not impressed by this book at all. It's usually difficult to get me to cringe at sex scenes, but The Midwife is probably That Book that made me feel awkward. With every turn on each page, I was hoping for no detailed descriptions of reproductive organs, either feminine or masculine, or wet dreams of a horny Finnish woman who's the only goal in life was to get on that big Nazi weiner and ride it off into the distance. I couldn't make it past the 50%
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
The Midwife is an incredibly passionate novel. A young Finnish woman who has been excluded by practically everyone in her community because of her parents' lack of marriage and her own odd-looking eye suddenly finds that WW2 not only brings her midwifery and natural healing skills into demand, but also allows her a chance to catch herself a stunningly handsome German SS officer, Johannes. This is no light-read romantic war story though. The book is written as a series of letters and radio commun ...more
Tereza Střížová
The first book by a Finish author I have ever read. I have learned a bit about Finnish history during the WW2 and about the relationships between the Germans, Russians, Finnish and the Lapps. However, the book's main focus is on the main character's love life (or is it perhaps her inner life since most of the story lines describe her thoughts and dreams most of all?). A midwife that is supposed to bring new life to the world becomes a tool of Nazi propaganda as she falls for a Nazi commander. Th ...more
Aug 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finnish, 2016
I often praise books by saying they have been beautifully written, but I cannot say that about this book. The Midwife is a crude, awful and disgusting book – and so worth the read. There is beauty even in the midst of all the filth, in the despair of two people being separated, and in fighting tooth and nail for the one you love. It is a shocking book about war and what it does to people, and the length to which people go to survive and/or protect their family. The writing style is definitely on ...more
I was a goodreads giveaway winner of a kindle edition of "The Midwife" I would give this an almost three. This book is written by a Finnish Writer Katja Kettu. It is based on the experiences of her grandmother, who went by the name of "Weird Eye' It takes place during World War 2. The character take turns writing of their experience in a P.O.W. camp in Finland. Weird eye is a Mid wife she meets Johannes they take turns writing what is happening and the horrors they witness and experience. Some o ...more
Michal Mironov
An exceptional book with original style but this originality is also its biggest flaw. A story is quite hard to follow due to its chaotic timeline, many characters and complicated concept. The book is soaked by the dark Nordic atmosphere, where nature is harsh and so are the people. I quite enjoyed wisely used, obscene, but innovative language matching the raw scenes. I would totally understand why some people (probably women intellectuals in most cases?) would love this book; it just probably w ...more
A difficult book to read at times due to the subject matter and the torture of war but a very insightful read too. A period of history I had not really thought of before - Finland and Lapland's role during the war and the effects it had on such communities.
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I received this book via ARC from Netgalley. Thanks Netgalley.

Weird Eye, the protagonist of the book falls in love, or develops an obsession? - with a Nazi officer - Johannes Angelhurst and does everything she can to get closer to him. An orphaned girl growing up in the Finnish Artic Circle, she works as an midwife, delivering babies into the harsh unforgiving reality of Finland during the waning days of World War II.

Much of this book seems to be written in diaries, so at times I was not sure if
Nicole Overmoyer
I received a copy of THE MIDWIFE through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest and original review. Unfortunately, the book was not for me and I was unable to finish it.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Expectation: 3*
Reality: 4*

I'm slowly growing tired of WWII books,
but this one was a totally new experience.
I did not like any of the characters,
but loved the story despite that.
I was appalled by the vulgar and sexually explicit language,
but found some incredibly beautiful and lyrical parts in between.
I was confused and lost by the many historical references,
but that didn't matter because the here-and-now of the book was stronger.

I'm on the fence - to love or to hate it? I don't know. Maybe th
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If I needed to choose one word to describe this book it would be "awkward". I rolled my eyes so many times at cringy parts in the book. The sexual scenes (and there are many) are just terrible - licking toes etc. Just bizarre. The characters weren't very likeable so there wasn't much interest to find out what happened to them. There were some enjoyable parts, but mostly I was just waiting for it to be over.
Kelly Furniss
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in 1940's Finland we follow the emotional story of a midwife given the unflattering nickname Weird Eye due to her appearance as she helps bring babies in to the World as World War II ravages.
Weird Eyes takes a nursing post at a prison camp to be near Nazi Officer War photographer Johannes. As the story unfolds Johannes discovers the brutality of what actually goes on within the camp, he struggles psychologically depending on the usage of a drug he obtains to deal with the guilt & images
Jan 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1 Star

When I read an author from another culture, I try to find something to appreciate about the people, the scenery or the story. There was nothing to appreciate about this book. I don’t believe it was a problem with translation. It was simply awful.

Since I know nothing about Lapland, I tried very hard to get into the story, but it was impossible. The midwife’s part was written in a series of letters to her beloved, Johannes. I wondered at times if the whole thing was imagined on her part. Re
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book.

An interesting story about how World War II affected the Finland/Lapland regions that has not been widely documented. Portions of the story were a tough read due to the sensitive nature of the topic, but I was not able to put the book down. Definitely a must read for not only those interested in wartime history and the effects of Nazi Germany, but anyone that might enjoy a tragic love story as well.
Polly Krize
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Although crude and brutal, somehow this is a mesmerizing read. Perhaps we need to wade through the filth to see the beauty of the characters and the situations they find themselves in. A haunting novel about World War II and its effects on Finland and its citizens. Recommended reading.
Apr 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I have been trying to read this book all year (literally) and have finally given up.
I thought I would be a good match for the book for various reasons:
1. I'm a doctor, and I've delivered many babies in rural and under-resourced places. I was taught obstetrics by midwives. I have a great respect for midwifery. I enjoy reading books about healthcare workers (not necessarily doctors).
2. I also am very fond of history, and although I try to read a wide variety of history topics, I come back to WW2
Bj Strickland
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hard book to read in several ways. First, as others have noted, it can be hard to follow the various characters as some are not who they seem, others change names by the end, and at times it isn't totally clear who is saying what. Second, the chronology of the letters is a bit bumpy, moving sometimes backward and then forward, although the narrative and pace are generally forward. Third, the author spares no punches describing the brutality of war and its effects on soldiers and civili ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
Set against the backdrop of World War II's Arctic Front in Lapland, this award-winning novel explores the romance between a Finnish midwife working as a nurse in a German-run prison camp and an SS officer amidst casual atrocities and brutality.

While it was interesting to learn more about a part of Finnish history I only had very sketchy knowledge of previously, I really didn't care for this book otherwise. I don't mind bleak and brutal stories, and given the setting, I was expecting one, but I a
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a non-linear story that was sometimes hard to follow, and there is much about this book that is disturbing, horrible, even disgusting, but I found it impossible to stop reading. The story line was just too compelling to walk away from. The action happens during the last year or so of WWII in northern Finland.
Kendra Morgan
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, received, won
Could Not Put It Down

I’m not sure why I was so hooked on this story. There were many times when I just wanted to throw it out, but I couldn’t stop reading it.
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That book made me cry with its description of war. This perspective is quite different than usual one and it's really strong.
Jessica Lindohf
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit of forgotten history

The Lapland war a, part of ww2 so often forgotten. A dark and desolate tale that is very well written.
Amanda Coalwell
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
Not for the faint of heart.

From the first few pages of this book (much of which I skipped) I was not sure I would even read it. This is because of the way the timeline was set up, which makes you think you've picked up some strange journal of events rather than a story. But alas, I continued. This really is a charming story, and well worth pushing through wild-eye's obsession for Johannes to finish it. The characters and timeline were built in a beautiful way, and it was satisfying to me to find
Sep 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults, war enthusiasts
Shelves: free-for-review
"Lord in Heaven, I want that man. Lord in Heaven, if I get him, I will never ask for another.” And so Wild-Eye gets what she asks for in love, but at what price? I keep wondering, would I pay that price for love?

*Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book.*

This is a love story like no other. Set in the harsh war period of 1944-1945 in Lapland, Finland. It tells the stark realities of the Finnish people caught in the war between the Germans and Russians. This book is b
patricia w wiktorek
A Dreadful Good Read

I almost stopped reading see several times but events kept cropping up to keep me involved. The cruelty of WW2 in Finland was immense. This is the story of a young woman trying to stay alive while being in love with a German Officer who had what we today call PSTD. The tale twists and turns and patience is needed for the Finnish names.
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I struggled with this book but it’s not the fault of the author. Lapland, its language, people and history is unknown to me. The story dwells on a timeframe of WW II, so the customs are even more exaggerated and foreign to an outsider. About halfway thru I started shaping an image of the people, the fjords, the cold weather and the methods of midwifery that were detailed with clarity.
The story is presented from the viewpoint of a family member who has researched the history of her grandmother an
Jun 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, romance
Unlike a few others, I really enjoyed reading the dialect that was used in the narrative. It gave the book a realistic touch, personality both to the narration and the characters. Because the story happened somewhere in a camp or in a cabin, or in general somewhere I don't know the area of, the dialect helped me to place the story somewhere automatically without the necessity to need more details to believe it. The dialect was the "grounding effect" of the story, made the story more vivid. Plus, ...more
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I certainly didn’t find this an easy read. The time scale is sometimes confusing, and its setting in an unfamiliar WWII theatre means having to follow events very closely, but overall it was worth the effort. At its heart is a love story between a disadvantaged Finnish woman and a German SS Officer. In no way a conventional romance, the feelings between them, although raw and often inarticulate, are very powerful and have a visceral and immediate effect on the reader. It’s a brutal and violent t ...more
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“Johannes. Se on pyhimysten ja mullivasikoitten nimi. Viattomien ja autuaitten, Johannes Kastajan nimi.” 1 likes
“Mikäs täsä ollu. Jäitä poltellesa.” 1 likes
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