I couldn't resist buying the latest book by Sofi Oksanen, despite being a paperback with a rather small lettering (front cover in the picture underneath, on the left) that had me stop from time to time.
Some years ago I read Purge in its Portuguese version (Purga) and a few years later Stalin's cows, in French (Les vaches de Stalin), both by the same author, which I strongly fell for. There was (is) something rather special about the way she approaches tough themes, which is undeniably intelligent and can't help but draw the readers' attention.
I've now come across When the doves disappeared in its English version which seems to once more confirm the masterful writing skills the author has. The plot is rather intricate as the sequence of chapters takes us back and forth from the forties to the sixties through different, yet similar political scenarios.
Sofi Oksanen explores the apparently uncontrollable ever-changing circumstances of the protagonists, who under the shadow of tyranny, the degree of desperation and the uncertainty of the present and the forthcoming future of their lives and their countries therewith associated, act both deceptive and heroically.
"Quoting" one of the critics ... what would or wouldn't one do to survive? ... A lot could be said about the book, but I feel the best way to get into its "heart" is to actually read it. I do strongly recommend its reading (not the paperback version because of the reasons described above).
"When the doves disappeared portrays with merciless logic and perception what happens when a society has lost its morals." - Arbetarbladet, Sweden
"At once a historical novel, a crime story, a psychological novel, a romance, a war novel When the doves disappeared plays with blurring boundaries." - Le Monde, France
"Oksanen depicts civilian life in war time and under communist oppression in rich historical detail, skillfully manipulating chronology and threading clues subtly throughout the narrative as suspense builds. Highly recommended." - Library Journal, USA
"This is a tense, politically relevant novel that asks what would you do to survive?" - Paul Gould