Purge, by Sofi Oksanen
I’ve recently completed an English translation of Purge (Puhdistus), by Sofi Oksanen, a gripping tale of secrets, shame, and danger, set in Estonia from the beginning of the Soviet era through the break-up of the early 90s. The translation will be published by Grove/Atlantic in April, and is available now for pre-order.
Purge has stirred an unusual amount of interest this past year, and will be published in 25 languages over the next few months. I love the book, and highly recommend it.
Here’s an excerpt:
Silence spread dark around her. The night was thickening. She took a few steps and stopped to stand in the yellow light of the lamp in the yard. Crickets were buzzing, the neighbors’ dogs barked. The white trunks of the birches shone dimly through the dark. She could see the peaceful fields through the chain-link fence, its mesh like tired eyes.
She inhaled so deeply that she felt a stab in her lungs like ice on a tooth. She had been wrong. The relief took her legs out from under her and she fell onto the steps with a thud.
No Pasha, no Lavrenti, no black car.
She turned her face toward the sky. That must be the Big Dipper. The same Big Dipper that you could see over Vladivostok, although this one looked different. Grandmother had looked at the Big Dipper from this same garden when she was young, the Big Dipper that looks like that one. Her grandmother—she had stood in the same place, in front of this same house, on the same stepping stones. The grass that tickled Zara’s foot was her grandmother’s touch and the wind in the apple trees was her grandmother’s whisper, and Zara felt like she was looking at the Big Dipper through her grandmother’s eyes, and when she turned her face back up toward the sky, she felt like her grandmother’s young body stood inside hers, and it ordered her to go back inside, to search for a story that she hadn’t been told.
Zara felt in her pocket. The photograph was still there.
More information at Grove/Atlantic.