Marja-Leena Tiainen: Kahden maailman tyttö [The girl from two worlds]

18 January 2012 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Kahden maailman tyttö
[The girl from two worlds]
Helsinki: Tammi, 2011. 261 p.
ISBN 978-951-31-5937-5
€ 26.65, hardback

Marja-Leena Tiainen (born 1951) has dealt with unemployment, immigration, and racism in her works, in ways that are accessible to her young readership. She researches her topics with care. The idea for this book dates back to 2004, when the author made the acquaintance of a Muslim girl who lived in a reception centre in eastern Finland; her experiences fed into Tara’s story. Tiainen’s central theme, ‘honour’ violence in the Muslim community, is surprisingly similar to Jari Tervo’s  Layla (WSOY, 2011). Tiainen’s is a traditional story about a girl growing up and surviving, but the novel’s strong points are the authentic description of everyday multiculturalism, and the intensity of the narration. The reader identifies with Tara’s balancing act, which she must carry out in the crossfire of her father’s authority, family tradition, and her own dreams. In spite of everything, the community also becomes a source of security and support for Tara. The narrative arc is coherent and, despite the numerous overlapping time-frames, the tension is sustained right up to the final, conciliatory solution.
Translated by Fleur Jeremiah and Emily Jeremiah

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