Cover image for When the doves disappeared
Title:
When the doves disappeared
Author:
Oksanen, Sofi, 1977-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Kum kyyhkyset katosivat. English
Edition:
First United States edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2015.
Physical Description:
303 pages : map ; 25 cm
Summary:
"From the internationally acclaimed author of Purge--a chillingly suspenseful, deftly woven new novel that opens up a little-known yet still controversial chapter of history: the occupation, resistance, and collaboration in Estonia during and after World War II. 1941: In Communist-ruled, war-ravaged Estonia, two men have deserted the Red Army--Roland, a fiercely principled freedom fighter, and his slippery cousin Edgar. When the Germans arrive, Roland goes into hiding; Edgar abandons his unhappy wife, Juudit, and takes on a new identity as a loyal supporter of the Nazi regime... 1963: Estonia is again under Communist control, independence even further out of reach behind the Iron Curtain. Edgar is now a Soviet apparatchik, desperate to hide the secrets of his past life and stay close to those in power. But his fate remains entangled with Roland's, and with Juudit, who may hold the key to uncovering the truth... In a masterfully told story that moves between the tumult of these two brutally repressive eras--a story of surveillance, deception, passion, and betrayal--Sofi Oksanen brings to life both the frailty, and the resilience, of humanity under the shadow of tyranny"--

"1941: In Communist-ruled, war-ravaged Estonia, two men have deserted the Red Army--Roland, a fiercely principled freedom fighter, and his slippery cousin Edgar. When the Germans arrive, Roland goes into hiding; Edgar abandons his unhappy wife, Juudit, and takes on a new identity as a loyal supporter of the Nazi regime... 1963: Estonia is again under Communist control, independence even further out of reach behind the Iron Curtain. Edgar is now a Soviet apparatchik, desperate to hide the secrets of his past life and stay close to those in power. But his fate remains entangled with Roland's, and with Juudit, who may hold the key to uncovering the truth... In a masterfully told story that moves between the tumult of these two brutally repressive eras--a story of surveillance, deception, passion, and betrayal--Sofi Oksanen brings to life both the frailty, and the resilience, of humanity under the shadow of tyranny"--
General Note:
"A novel"-- Dust jacket.

"Originally published in Finland as Kum kyyhkyset katosivat by LIke Kustannus Oy, Helsinki, in 2012."-- Title page verso.
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780385350174

9780345805904
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

From the acclaimed author of Purge ("a stirring and humane work of art" -- The New Republic ) comes a riveting, chillingly relevant new novel of occupation, resistance, and collaboration in Eastern Europe.

1941: In Communist-ruled, war-ravaged Estonia, two men are fleeing from the Red Army--Roland, a fiercely principled freedom fighter, and his slippery cousin Edgar. When the Germans arrive, Roland goes into hiding; Edgar abandons his unhappy wife, Juudit, and takes on a new identity as a loyal supporter of the Nazi regime . . . 1963: Estonia is again under Communist control, independence even further out of reach behind the Iron Curtain. Edgar is now a Soviet apparatchik, desperate to hide the secrets of his past life and stay close to those in power. But his fate remains entangled with Roland's, and with Juudit, who may hold the key to uncovering the truth . . .

Great acts of deception and heroism collide in this masterful story of surveillance, passion, and betrayal, as Sofi Oksanen brings to life the frailty--and the resilience--of humanity under the shadow of tyranny.

 


Author Notes

SOFI OKSANEN is a Finnish-Estonian novelist and playwright. She has received numerous prizes for her work, including the Swedish Academy Nordic Prize, the Prix Femina, the Budapest Grand Prize, the European Book Prize, and the Nordic Council Literature Prize. She lives in Helsinki.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In meticulously precise prose, Finnish Estonian novelist Oksanen exposes the craven nature of oppression in Estonia during two time periods, first by German invaders in 1941, then by Communists in 1963. Three characters fierce resistance fighter Roland; supreme opportunist Edgar; and Edgar's hapless wife, Juudit are each forced to make life-altering decisions under desperate circumstances. Roland has always yearned for an independent Estonia and deserts the Red Army to mobilize for freedom. He knows that his cousin Edgar is a braggart inclined to stretch the truth, but he is shocked to learn that Edgar has abandoned his wife and become a loyal supporter of the Nazi regime. Twenty years later, though, Edgar has managed to cover up his background and become a Soviet apparatchik, writing a completely fabricated, devious history of Estonians who collaborated with the Nazis. Oksanen captures both the futility of the citizens of a tiny country who yearn for freedom and the dark heart of an opportunist who would sell out his own family in order to survive. This is powerful fiction that stirs history, war crimes, and psychology into a compelling mix.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2015 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

During and after the Second World War, the boundaries and power structures of Europe changed dramatically. In this fourth novel, Oksanen, who has won the Swedish Academy Nordic Prize and Budapest Grand Prize, traces those changes through the lives of one Estonian family. Focusing mostly on Roland's passion for a free Estonia, Juudith's quest to be cherished, and Edgar's machinations, Oksanen's characters must navigate the ever-changing political landscape that means danger for everyone, especially those who, like Edgar, lust for power and recognition. The fragmented narrative, adeptly translated by Rogers, switches between the Third Reich and the height of Soviet power, using these two time periods to make ideal use of dramatic irony, to render understandable collusion with the enemy as well as portray its consequences, and to evoke sympathy for a man whose ambition leads him to commit terrible atrocities. Oksanen manages to relate these stories without horror or judgment, and reminds the reader that, whatever else people in wartime may do, they are human creatures, and not the one-dimensional monsters that history makes them seem to be. Agent: Salomonsson Agency. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Originally published in Finnish and a big seller in Finland and Sweden, this new work from Oksanen (Purge) opens in wartime Estonia, a country invaded both by the Soviets and by the Nazis and after World War II integrated into the USSR. Two cousins are dodging Russian troops in the countryside as the front shifts. Roland is an insurgent who supports a free Estonia, but villainous Edgar has collaborated with the Russians and now forges a new identity and finds work with the Nazis. Edgar's wife, Juudit, a naive woman who doesn't realize that Edgar is a closeted homosexual, moves to the city, where she becomes a German SS officer's "war bride." The interconnections among the Estonian civilians and the difficult decisions they must make haunt them throughout the war and after. The story line stretches into the 1960s, when Edgar has reinvented himself yet again, insinuating himself with the KGB. He is still searching for Roland, whom Edgar fears could puncture his armor of lies. VERDICT Oksanen depicts civilian life in wartime and under communist oppression in rich historical detail, skillfully manipulating chronology and threading clues subtly throughout the narrative as suspense builds. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 8/22/14.]-Reba Leiding, emeritus, James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Western Estonia, Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union We went to Rosalie's grave one last time and placed some wild- flowers on the grassy moonlit mound. We were silent for a moment with the blooms between us. I didn't want to let Juudit go, which is why I said out loud what a person shouldn't say in that situation: "We'll never see each other again." I could hear the gravel in my voice, and it brought a gleam of water to her eyes, that gleam that had often knocked me off balance, welling up and sending my rational mind lightly afloat, like a bark boat. Rocking on a stream that flowed from her eyes. Maybe I spoke bluntly to dull my own pain, maybe I just wanted to be cruel so that when she'd left she could curse me and my callousness, or maybe I yearned for some final declaration, for her to say she didn't want to leave. I was still uncertain of the movements of her heart, even after all we'd been through together. "You regret bringing me here," Juudit whispered. I was startled by her perceptiveness, rubbed my neck in embarrassment. She'd given me a haircut just that evening, and it itched where the hair had fallen down inside my collar. "It's all right. I understand," she said. I could have contradicted her, but I didn't, although she hadn't been a burden. The men had insinuated otherwise. But I had to bring her to the safety of the forest when I heard that she'd had to flee from Tallinn. The Armses' farm wasn't a safe place for us with the Russians advancing. The forest was better. She'd been like an injured bird in the palm of my hand, weakened, her nerves feverish for weeks. When our medic was killed in combat, the men finally let Mrs. Vaik come to help us, us and Juudit. I had succeeded in rescuing her one more time, but once she stepped out onto the road that loomed ahead of us, I wouldn't be able to protect her anymore. The men were right, though--women and children belonged at home. Juudit had to go back to town. The noose around us was tightening and the safety of the forest was melting away. I watched her face out of the corner of my eye. Her gaze had turned to the road that she would leave by; her mouth was open, she was gulping the air with all her strength, and the feel of her breath threatened to undermine my resolve. "It's best this way," I said. "Best for all of us. Go back to the life you left behind." "It's not the same anymore. It never will be." Excerpted from When the Doves Disappeared by Sofi Oksanen. Copyright © 2015 by Sofi Oksanen. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpted from When the Doves Disappeared by Sofi Oksanen All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.