Maria Turtschaninoff: Maresi. Krönikor från röda klostret [Maresi. Chronicles of the red convent]

6 March 2015 | Mini reviews, Reviews

turtschaninoffMaresi. Krönikor från röda klostret
[Maresi. Chronicles of the red convent]
Helsinki: Schildts & Söderströms, 2014. 213 pp.
ISBN 978-951-52-3471-1
€18.90, hardback
Maresi. Punaisen luostarin kronikoita
Suom. [Translated from Swedish into Finnish by]: Marja Kyrö
Helsinki: Tammi, 2014. 213 pp.
ISBN 978-951-31-8000-3
€25.90, hardback

Maria Turtschaninoff (born 1971) has quickly established a place as a leading author of Finland-Swedish young adults’ literature. Her fantasy novel Maresi is set in an old convent run entirely by women. The narrator Maresi is a conscientious girl loved by the congregation of sisters; she is gradually learning of her own special talents and what is expected from her. The peace of the convent is threatened with the arrival of the mute, uncommunicative Jai. Her experience of trauma gradually come to light and the girls work up their collective courage, together with the other women, to challenge the despotism of men. Turtschaninoff is a visual storyteller; her descriptions of nature, convent life, and animal care are indelible. The setting is vividly drawn and the sheltered environment feels well depicted. The novel unflinchingly takes on women’s experiences of physical and psychological violence, and its points of identification transcend all cultural boundaries. This provocative, feminist novel won the 2014 Finlandia Junior prize.

Translated by Lola Rogers

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