Sofi Oksanen: Puhdistus [Purge]

5 February 2009 | Mini reviews

Sofi Oksanen: Puhdistus [Purge]Puhdistus
Helsinki: WSOY, 2008. 380 p.
ISBN 978-951-0-33973-2
€ 29.90, paperback

Sofi Oksanen’s first play Puhdistus (‘Purge’) was staged at Finland’s National Theatre in 2007. Oksanen (born 1977) has an Estonian-Finnish background and studied at the Theatre Academy. Puhdistus, her third novel, retells the story of her play about two women and moves through the past by flashbacks between 1939 and 1992. Aliide has experienced the horrors of the Stalin era and the deportation of Estonians to Siberia, but she herself has to cope with the guilt of opportunism and even manslaughter. One night in 1992 she finds a young woman in the courtyard of her house; Zara has just escaped from the claws of the Russian mafia who held her as a sex slave. Aliide later finds out that the girl is related to her. The women’s experiences as victims of social and brutal sexual oppression as well as their own actions are linked with opportunistic despair and fatally entwined with violence. Oksanen’s sombre narrative is written in a richly detailed and eidetic style.

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  1. Donna Parson

    Where can I buy the English translation of Purge?

  2. Soila Lehtonen

    Dear Donna,

    Puhdistus (Purge) will appear in English in spring 2010: the publisher is Grove/Atlantic.

  3. David de Young

    I’m reading Lola Rogers English translation of Puhdistus right now, and it’s fantastic. I really look forward to learning Finnish well enough to read Oksanen’s work in the original someday. (P.S. Soila, your website is a great resource!)

  4. Stine

    Hi! I’m looking for the English translated theatre play/script of Puhdistus, but can’t seem to find it anywhere. Do you know where I can find it?

  5. Leena Lahti

    Dear Stine,
    please try Theatre Info Finland.

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