“…built the traditional way, logs spaced slightly apart to let the air in. Happiness trickled away easily between the logs”
Set in a remote village in the the harsh and bleak north of Finland, the book follows Kristina during her early teenage years, and her observations on her home and fellow residents. There is much resourcefulness, but little joy to be found in this novel, and when you do find it, it trickles away easily between the pages.
The book, much the area in which Kristina lives, and indeed Kristina’s life, can be angry, harsh and unforgiving, but oddly perhaps, given all that, this is not a depressing book to read.
Dysfunction surrounds Kristina, her parents appear to be falling apart, constantly niggling and back-biting. Her father, an important man in the village, is also an adulterer and a drunk. Her mother is addicted to the prescription drugs she nicks from the hospital where she works, and is constantly on the verge of a break-down.
It’s through all this that, Kristina and her friends search for their own place in life and experiment with sex, drugs and danger, and deal with first love and grief.
Kristina’s narration, seems to veer from reality and fantasy as she struggles to explain herself, much like any teenager, anywhere else the the world, I suppose. But this combined the fact that the story can best be described as a ‘snapshot’ of Kristina’s life. As there is no real plot, or coming of age development, lends a strange detachment from what you are reading.
An interesting, thoughtful read, but I’m not quite sure what the author’s intent was, or whether I just get from it what she wanted. Saying that, I do think it’s a worthwhile read.
This book also completes the Lost in Translation Challenge for me.