Purge by Sofi Oksanen

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An international sensation, Sofi Oksanen’s award-winning novel Purge is a breathtakingly suspenseful tale of two women dogged by their own shameful pasts and the dark, unspoken history that binds them.

When Aliide Truu, an older woman living alone in the Estonian countryside, finds a disheveled girl huddled in her front yard, she suppresses her misgivings and offers her shelter. Zara is a young sex-trafficking victim on the run from her captors, but a photo she carries with her soon makes it clear that her arrival at Aliide’s home is no coincidence. Survivors both, Aliide and Zara engage in a complex arithmetic of suspicion and revelation to distill each other’s motives; gradually, their stories emerge, the culmination of a tragic family drama of rivalry, lust, and loss that played out during the worst years of Estonia’s Soviet occupation.

Sofi Oksanen establishes herself as one the most important voices of her generation with this intricately woven tale, whose stakes are almost unbearably high from the first page to the last. Purge is a fiercely compelling and damning novel about the corrosive effects of shame, and of life in a time and place where to survive is to be implicated.

About Sofi Oksanen

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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. Translated from the Finnish by Lola Rogers.
Published April 1, 2010 by Grove Press, Black Cat. 320 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, History, Crime. Fiction
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Unrated Critic Reviews for Purge

Kirkus Reviews

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Two refugees of Estonia's Soviet occupation collide with one another.

Dec 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Purge

Publishers Weekly

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Oksanen's uneven first novel to be translated into English follows one family through three generations during the Soviet occupation of the Baltics. In 1992, Aliide Truu finds a ragged and abu

Feb 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Purge

Publishers Weekly

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But when Zara shows Aliide an old picture of Aliide and her sister, Ingel, it becomes clear that Zara's choice in sanctuary wasn't coincidental.

Feb 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Purge


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Finnish-Estonian novelist Sofi Oksanen uses a newly formed bond between an escaped Russian sex slave and a solitary Estonian woman to explore the ways decades of Soviet rule ravaged life in the former USSR.

Apr 14 2010 | Read Full Review of Purge

The Bookbag

You can read more book reviews or buy Purge by Sofi Oksanen at Amazon.co.uk.

Sep 08 2012 | Read Full Review of Purge


We find that Zara landing on Aliide's doorstep is not by happenstance and I love how the importance of that relationship is revealed and how Aliide and Zara "purge" certain feelings of despair and emotional enslavement.

Oct 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Purge

Curious Book Fans

those who poke around in the past will get a stick in the eye.” To Aliide it doesn’t matter who has the power and looking at the experiences of Aliide and Zara she might just be right.

Aug 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Purge

Mystery Tribune

Books / Good Reads / Our Picks / Police Procedurals / Thrillers.

Mar 29 2012 | Read Full Review of Purge


Like “The Kite Runner,” Sofi Oksanen’s novel “Purge” found international success by recounting recent historical traumas — in this case, contemporary Russian-mafia sex-trafficking, plus the brutal Soviet takeover of Estonia decades earlier — within highly melodramatic narratives.

Jan 09 2013 | Read Full Review of Purge

Mumbai Boss

Purge draws in the reader and makes us an invisible inhabitant of Aliide’s world, a place that is a bizarre mix of idyll and nightmare.

Jun 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Purge

The Coast

Aliide Truu is an elderly woman living alone on a farmhouse in rural Estonia.

Sep 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Purge

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