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Purge
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Group Reads > Purge group discussion (June '16)

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message 1: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
This month we're reading Purge by Sofi Oksanen. This seems to have originally been published in Finland and looks really compelling! Who's planning on reading this with us this month?


Amanda (tnbooklover) Me! I'll be doing the audio starting mid month.


message 3: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
Me too! I'm planning on starting this sometime next week.


message 4: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments I have this out of the library. I'm not sure when I'll start - probably mid/late June.


Amanda (tnbooklover) I started the audio yesterday. The narrator isn't great but at this point I'm committed. This one was one of my nominations and I honestly don't remember where I first heard of it. I'm always looking for books in translation so I imagine it was in that vain that I found this. So far (I'm at 40%) I'm finding it very interesting and different from what I was expecting. It's very atmospheric and the characters are rich and interesting. I'm still not sure exactly where the plot is going but that is ok because I am along for the ride.

Has anyone else started yet?


Amanda (tnbooklover) This book has crazy chapter titles :)


message 7: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments Amanda wrote: "This book has crazy chapter titles :)"

I haven't started yet but will do in the next couple of days, but I just picked it up to see what you mean about the chapter titles :-). Most peculiar/intriguing!


Scott Bright | 4 comments I just got this book in so I will definitely be joining you, after I finish The Handmaid's Tale


message 9: by Taylor (new)

Taylor (seffietay) It's on my pile of to-read-nexts! I am always so woefully behind :(


message 10: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments I'm about 80 pages in. It does feel very foreign but not in a bad way. The language feels very sparse somehow. I am intrigued by both the women and am keen to find out how (view spoiler) and to just find out more about Aliide's past.

One other thing I'm noticing about this book so far is that flies are mentioned a LOT. I am wondering about the symbolism there.


message 11: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
I started this last week, but I've been super busy and then sick on top of that and I decided I just wasn't mentally alert enough for it. So I've been comforting myself with lazier reading material until my brain feels like it's fully functioning again.


message 12: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments Alexa wrote: "I started this last week, but I've been super busy and then sick on top of that and I decided I just wasn't mentally alert enough for it. So I've been comforting myself with lazier reading material..."

Purge is definitely not a light and breezy read!! I've been interspersing my reading of it with some lazier stuff (and I haven't even been sick!)


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Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
I'm hoping to get back to it this weekend. I read about the first three chapters so far, and those images are really sticking in my mind!


Scott Bright | 4 comments I'm about 160ish pages in and it's been a very, very intense read. I'm not sure about the symbolism attached to the flies, but it's there. at first, I wasn't too big of a fan of Aliide, but reading her story, I kind of understand why she's acting the way she is. except she was kind of a rude character before [spoilers] but still. I can't wait to get further to be honest, the writing is very...stylistic, fits the mold of whatever is being told.


message 15: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments I would agree with Scott's comment that this is an intense read. I finished last night. I was pleased that Aliide (view spoiler)

I am so glad this book was chosen as I really don't think I would have ever read it on my own and there was a lot to think about here. I think it is a book that will stay with me for a long time.

One thing I did really enjoy about the book was all the stuff about picking mushrooms, and making medicines and chutneys and kefir. I thought that made a fascinating backdrop. Oh and the chapter headings were awesome too :-)


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Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
This is feeling so grim!


message 17: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
I have to say that I'm enjoying the process of reading this, but every time I put it down I have to force myself to pick it up again. It's as if I'm afraid of it and whatever new horrors it has in store for me.

There is some intense awfulness here!

The backdrop of kefir making, and beet-sugar syrup making and herbs and everything is yes, interesting, but it also is so intense, nitty-gritty in-your-face with the flies and the endless grating and the labor. No romanticizing of farm life here!


Amanda (tnbooklover) I struggled with parts of it too. Intense awfulness is a great phrase :)


message 19: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
I'm only half-way, so I can't say anything for sure yet - but I can't help seeing parallels between the sheer physical yuckiness of sex work vs. farm work. (Just physical, not emotional.) Where does rape leave you vs. where does starvation leave you. And which aspects of these are not ubiquitous in so many women's lives.


Scott Bright | 4 comments Oh my. I just finished and it was an incredible read. So incredibly dark. This is one of those books that sits with you for years and demands a reread. this is not a one-read book. I am glad I read this, to be honest.


message 21: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
I'm glad to hear that, because it's really getting harder and harder for me to pick it up again! I keep looking at my pile of books and thinking, "surely I deserve a break from this." I'm not sure if I can think of anything else that has left me quite so miserable.


Scott Bright | 4 comments Come on Alexa, just stick it through! you won't regret it. It's heavy and dark, yes, but it has it's amazing moments. Aliide redeems herself (sort of) and many of the things that make no sense now (like the constant fly references) will. You can do it! Finally putting it down was such a satisfying feeling


message 23: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
As is, carry on, so you can finally put it down for the last time!!!

But seriously, I will, I'm just whining about it.


message 24: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments I agree with Scott - it's definitely worth sticking with it. The resolution with Aliide is quite satisfying!


message 25: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
Well, I finished it, and I'm not at all sure what I thought. Rarely (if ever) has a book managed to make me quite so miserable. I've never been a fan of trigger warnings, but yikes, if ever a book needed one, this was it.

This excelled at dragging me down into the depths of horrificness, is that a mark of its power?

I wasn't at all satisfied by the ending - which is not a criticism. I'm not at all sure this should have ever left me satisfied. The way we don't see the actual parting was in keeping with its utter denial of any human pleasure. No, instead we're left with dry reports, the veracity of which we have lots of reasons to doubt.

Wow, yet yuck!!!


message 26: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
I'm curious, what do you forgive Aliide for, and which bits (if any) are unforgivable? It really hit me, putting all the dates together at the end, that she would have been 11 (and her sister 16) when they first met Hans, which makes her 15 when Linda is born.


message 27: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
Any final thoughts? I think this book is going to stick with me for a long, long time!


message 28: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments I'm not sure there could have been a satisfying ending really either. The situations that both women had endured were just too horrifying. What I did like was that they eventually formed a bond/understanding because of that shared trauma and although I don't want to condone murder (!), I did think that it was inevitable, and somehow right that Aliide (view spoiler)

I certainly wouldn't say I enjoyed reading this, but I think it was definitely an arresting read.


message 29: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments I was just looking on my library site to see which other books they had by Sofi Oksanen and discovered that Purge has been made into a movie, and they have the DVD of it in my local branch. Here's the iMDb link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1714205/. It has a rating of 7.2, which is pretty high so I might just give it a go. I am wondering if all the flies will be in the movie?! Has anyone seen it?


message 30: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
I watched the preview. It looks like it could be amazing, and probably way too horrific for me. It brings it all back to me - way outside my comfort zone. That was probably a pretty incredible book, given how I just cringe away from the thought of watching the movie. Do tell us how it is!


message 31: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments So, I watched the movie at the weekend. It gave me nightmares!! I would say that it was pretty much faithful to the book (though with fewer pickles, and fewer flies). The acting was astoundingly good, especially Laura Birn, who played the young Aliide.

Some of the scenes were so visceral and upsetting (specifically those in the town hall) even though I knew from reading the book that they were coming. One thing I did find very powerful in the movie was in the closing scene (view spoiler) I thought that worked really well.

Overall, I think it was a very good movie, if you have the stomach for it!


message 32: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
Fewer pickles - that made me laugh! I don't even want to think about the town hall - with a book you can read a sentence and then look away, and it is all limited by one own's imagination. When it is on screen it's relentless. That sounds like a beautiful way to handle the ending though!

Hans? You see him as mistreating Aliide? Other than coming back to her for refuge, when she worked so hard to get rid of him - how? I thought all the mistreatment there was on her side, although she was a child and he an adult for most of that time period.


message 33: by Viv (new) - rated it 5 stars

Viv JM | 97 comments I don't think Hans mistreated Aliide as such but it was his "fault" in a way that Aliide and her sister were in the situation where they were considered enemies of the state and treated the way they were.

You're right about the relentlessness of the screen versus being able to look away from the book. I find that I can read and process disturbing books without it affecting my sleep - movies and TV not so much (which is why, in the main, I stick to books!) I'm glad I watched this though.


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