I picked up Purge at the Academic Bookstore (Akateeminen Kirjakauppa) in Helsinki, Finland. This wasn’t the first time I’d heard of Sofi Oksanen’s book — I’d also had it recommended to me by the clerk in Stockholm’s English Bookshop less than a week earlier. Both times, the recommendation came with a disclaimer that Purge is a dark and upsetting novel. Of course, how can a novel about a sex-trafficking victim and a woman with a very dark past not be upsetting?
Well, it turns out they were right: this book is upsetting. However, it’s a really good book nonetheless. And it’s a page turner, that’s for sure.
I often complain that books and movies tie up too many of the loose ends, delivering a neat and tidy conclusion to the reader so that there’s nothing left to the imagination. Nothing left to think about. No thought required. I can’t say that about Purge. Oksanen’s novel leave you with plenty to think about, and I mean that in a good way. It may not leave you feeling like sunshine and rainbows, but it’ll leave you in a contemplative mood. I’m not feeling like giving the ending away today, so I’ll leave it at that. But if you’re okay with a darker tale and a good story, this book is a great option. Give it a whirl….
GOOD FOR: Readers interested in the fine lines between right and wrong, those contemplating the human condition, and people looking for a tale of the nuances of humanity.
BAD FOR: Anyone wanting a tidy ending, readers with a weak stomach when it comes to sexual violence, and people who’ve had quite enough of the dark side of our world for the time being.