Saturday, July 18, 2015

#29: When the Doves Disappeared by Sofi Oksanen

During World War II, Estonia is passed back and forth between Nazi and Soviet rule, leaving their citizens with constantly shifting allegiances in a bleak landscape; against this backdrop are two cousins, one a hardline Estonian patriot and the other a slippery sycophant, whose fates are tied together by the women they love in Sofi Oksanen's When the Doves Disappeared.

Oksanen's novel is a large-scale historical drama with insights into a part of the world and a culture I was unfamiliar with.  Oksanen writes that Estonia is "like a nameless corpse on the battlefield" in the greater world war and does a good job of making Estonia almost another character in the work.

Otherwise Oksanen hits a lot of genre beats as one cousin becomes a partisan, the other a sympathizer, and they both become involved with internment camps; alternating chapters set in the 60s in the midst of Cold War paranoia shows a less familiar slice of history.

Oksanen ties the threads up in a rather fatalistic ending, but features good storytelling throughout from a different voice.

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana.  Recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment