The Blurb Appreciation Reviews presents its fifth review!
When the Doves Disappeared written originally in Finnish by Sofi Oksanen. The novel is set in Estonia during WWII and later on when it became part of the Soviet Union.
This was my first novel I read that was set in Estonia. I read it as part of the Women in Translation month in August. Take a look at the other books that I read in that month!
The novel is translated into English by Lola M. Rogers.
As the blurb points out, When the Doves Disappeared takes place through two timelines. This parallel style is quite effective in making the reader think and figure out the pieces of what is happening or has happened to the story’s main characters, Edgar and Roland.
The novel explores a different, lesser known side of history namely Estonia’s struggle in World War 2 especially against the Nazi rule and its eventual capture by Soviet forces. The Soviet side had initially come to Estonia as saviours but later they also turned into captors of all Estonians, denying them freedom.
The Blurb Appreciation Reviews presents it fourth review!
Quite honestly, it was actually the cover of The Red Room that caught my eye itself, yet it was the detailed back cover or the blurb that finally made me decide to lend the book from the library.
Despite the mention of trauma, I couldn’t help but gawk and be awed at the deep red of the cover and wonder at how pretty it is! Don’t you think so?
My interest in Korean literature is a recent development. So I ideally wanted to pick up this book just to broaden my perspectives about books and stories from Korea. However, since trauma was mentioned, I debated whether I wanted or had the mental space to read something heavy, dense and thought provoking.
But, it was the beautiful blurb that sealed the deal!
The Red Room, translated by Bruce and Ju Chan Fulton, has three stories about “trauma in contemporary Korea.” The stories narrate how traumatic experiences have become a part and parcel for many Koreans especially because of the Korean War and the Gwangju/Kwangju Massacre. The Red Room is bookended by in depth forward and afterword that help the reader to know more about the specific events that the stories in the novel talk about.
A Quick Word
The first story, In the Realm of the Buddha, by Pak Wan-so is about the how a mother-daughter duo have yet to come to terms with the death of their father and brother, twenty years later. It is a heart felt story about what binds the living together, despite their differences in the way they share this unresolved grief.
The second story, Spirit on the Wind, by O Chong-hui is my favourite and employs two point of views to present its story. Un-su is the wife who often abruptly leaves her home at random for short intervals, without any consideration for her husband or son, Sung-il.
The second Blurb Appreciation Reviews presents a review of Boats on Land by Janice Pariat.
About the blurb:
I agree with one thing in the blurb that Boats on Land is imbued with the supernatural and the folkloric. From the first page itself, Janice Pariat gives a glimpse of the Khasi (an ethnic group of the north eastern Indian state of Meghalaya) culture through the concept of ka ktien, which would roughly mean (if I am not mistaken) the power that words have.
Right in the first story itself, we see the power of the ka ktien and throughout the stories we see other rituals such as “the three night long watches kept by the ieng iap briew (household of the dead) when windows and doors stayed open for the spirits of the deceased.”
Pariat has infused elements of the Khasi oral culture, with its many customs, beliefs and superstitions, into the written word and she upholds the former’s power over the latter.
I am starting a new series on The Book Cafe called Blurb Appreciation Reviews.
What is it about?
Personally I disapprove of the current trend of having only comments from authors or newspapers at the back of book. So much so that the definition of blurb has become synonymous with that.
But one definition of a blurb is also that the back cover of the book has a short synopsis of the story.
I miss those days when the back covers would actually tell you about the book rather than what others think about it.
How do you expect me to pick up a book if all the back cover says is:
And other such gazillion, run of the mill words that can be substituted above!
However, it does not mean that all books have those distasteful covers.
Through this series of Blurb Appreciation Reviews, I want to highlight books with excellent, well thought out summaries that actually show us what the book is about!
Come join The Book Cafe on a blurbful ride!
So what do you think of blurbs?
Have you come across any good blurbs recently? Share below! Comment and share!
Come do a quick blurb review for The Book Cafe!
Email with any blurby ideas at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org!