Raili Mikkanen: Pähkinäpuinen lipas [The walnut wood box]

3 March 2009 | Mini reviews

Raili MikkanenPähkinäpuinen lipas
[The walnut wood box]
Helsinki: Tammi, 2008. 205 p.
ISBN 978-951-31-3855-4
€ 17, hardback

In this vivid juvenile novel, third in the series set in the 17th century, there are surprising points of comparison with the lives of young people today. The three daughters of the healer Briita seek a place of their own in a small rural community after their mother’s death. The youngest, Anna, inherits her mother’s walnut wood box. Unlike her peers, Anna is able to read and write, and the old documents found in the box explain why Briita was a violent mother who sought to relieve the pain of her life with medicinal herbs; her daughters are finally able to understand and forgive her. Through her sympathetic main character, Mikkanen (born 1941) skilfully constructs the image, familiar from classical literature, of a young woman who attains success despite her lowly origins.

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