House of Orphans
21 journalers for this copy...
Vivid and exciting ... Dunmore creates a beautiful sense of stillness ... she conveys a passion for Finland's icy landscape Observer
Finland, 1902, and the Russian Empire enforces a brutal policy to destroy Finland's freedom and force its people into submission.
Eeva, orphaned daughter of a failed revolutionary, also battles to find her independence and identity. Destitute when her father dies, she is sent away to a country orphanage, and then employed as servant to a widowed doctor, Thomas Eklund.
Set in dangerous, unfamiliar times which strangely echo our own, the story reveals how terrorism lies hidden within ordinary life, as rulers struggle to hold on to power. House of Orphans is a rich, brilliant story of love, history and change.(backcover)
I bought this simply because it's set in Finland at the turn of the last century. I don't think I've read any other Helen Dunmore, but she has won the orange prize, the McKitterick prize and was also shortlisted for the Whitbread novel of the year and Orange prize for fiction 2002.
I will offer this as a book ring here in Finland.
dotdot (after July)
Autumn 2008 - a EU ring will start
Dare to Believe (Italy)
Lindy Lou Mac (Italy)
WigglyWoods (UK) can ship abroad if necessary
Caroley (UK) willing to ship internationally <= here! Sept 09
MarcThomas (France) will ship within Europe
IWISHIWAS (UK) (willing to ship within Europe)
Seethroughfaith (Tku, Finland)
I don't know Helen Dunmore's background -but if she doesn't have any Finnish background - she's done superb research on Finland in the early 1900s.
What I particular like is the juxtapositioning of the situation at the turn of last century for Swedish-speaking Finns, and Finnish speakers - and the appropriate mixing of names of cities (H:fors /Hki, Åbo/Turku) depending on who is speaking. It's also lovely to read Finnish sounding Christian names, and experience the thaw of winter and saunas through the eyes of the characters.
On p 27 there's a GREAT quote for BC!
She had her own candlestick. made of pewter, and she burned the candles in it until they were halfway down, and then she hid them in her drawer, and took a fresh candle fro the store cupboard. This way she would always have light to read by, even if the doctor changed his mind. Made me appreciate that 100 years on, in 2008, we don't have to worry about not having enough light to read by - how fortunate we are!
I enjoyed the first half (set in the country) a bit more than the second half (set in Helsinki) and was very surprised by the ending! (I re-read the last few chapters to check if I'd missed any clues!)
I don't want to write more because it will spoil the book for others. I found most of the characters very interesting and I'd love to know more of Magda's story!
One more quote to whet your appetite!
It was no good trying to sleep now. It was full daylight outside, anyway, and on summer nights Lauri never slept very long. He made up his sleep in the winter. I can soidentify with that.
The book ring can start soon. Sign up is by the end of Jan 08!
Part love story, part tragedy Indpendent on Sunday
in a later JE Savotar talks of Bobrikov. You can read more about him
The author has spent couple of years in Finland, teaching. As she is non-Finnish, I expect she therefore (maybe) has different view on history and happenings in Finland. I'm pretty curious about this book.
Very nice quotes and "conclusions" and very cleverly chosen timeframe for the book, in the middle of all kinds of dramatic historical happenings in Finland. Sometimes I was thinking, is it possible that people had such thoughts 100 years ago, sometimes everything seemed so similar to what's going on now - I wonder if anything has actually changed in this world.
I wish there'd be similar politically rebellious moods/movements nowadays, too, against some stupidities in this country; but no, today's people are so obidient and nice :)
I liked many characters, but some of them had kind of disgusting sides, but so realistic anyway. Funniest thing was that people saw things so differently, believing to be right, even though they were completely wrong, and some of them were so easily condemning "different" behaviour.
I suppose I'll finish this book within couple of days, and can forward this already on Saturday...
Edit 17.1.2008: I managed to finish this, or actually I was "forced" to finish this (that badly hooked, you see), and this will be book #4 in Keep them moving challenge 2008.
Edit 19.1.2008: Unfortunately I forgot to bring this book along today, hope to manage forwarding following week.
The book was very easy to read, and I fell in love with Dunmore's writing style. I wish I could achieve the same! She is suberb in creating athmosphere and describing moods and surroundings, including the spring weather. Now that I think about it, actually very little happened in the book. The main thing was not action and movement, but moments and details. Very interesting reading experience.
Here's one of my favourite little moments:
When she'd first stood in the doctor's kitchen she almost couldn't remember what it was like to walk around a room and hear only the sounds of her own body, her own movement and voice. She raised her arms above her head, and let them fall. She stretched them as wide as she could, pointing her fingers until they ached. Nobody saw. Nobody asked what she was doing.
I'll mail the book today to Hippolein.
Thanks seethroughfaith for offering this book as a ring ;-)
ps. book leaves today for Niora ;-) just noticed have address already!
This is an interesting novel about different people living in uncertain times: the Russification period in the Finnish history in the early 20th century. I liked how many different (and probably more or less authentic) points of view it covered, but I did have some trouble "believing" both in the characters being Finnish and them living a hundred years ago. Somehow they always came across to me a bit too modern in their views and knowledge and, I don't know, just none too Finnish by their basic nature and way of talking, even if many of the characters were Swedish-speaking Finns.
Thanks for the ring, seethroughfaith! I'll mail the book tomorrow to Chania.
Update (March 20): in the mail.
I'll pm dotdot to see if she wants to have it even though it is not yet July :-)
EDIT 28.4.2008: dotdot wanted to switch places with somebody else in the ring so I'm sending the book to savotar today.
The atmosphere in this book is strange. It doesn't feel like Finland, it's rather like some weird country without connections to the rest of the world. Maybe that's Finland for the writer. :)
Speaking of the writer, she hasn't done her homework. In 1902 people living in towns knew where milk and potatoes come from. In Finland you don't call anyone a country pumpkin. And Russian people don't have difficulties in pronouncing Finnish r-sound. It's the problem many English-speakers have, but not Russians!
I don't know to whom to recommend this book if I had to. Maybe to someone who likes stories and doesn't care if the facts are right or not.
I am just in the process of moving (next week) but I will try not to hold this bookring up. As soon as I have finished my present book I will get onto this one. I am pming Dare to Believe today to ask for her address as I may not have internet access when I finish this book.
Thanks for including me in the bookring.
I pmed Dare2Believe a week ago for her address but still haven't received it. I will pm again and if I don't hear back I will send this onto LindyLouMac because I have her address already!
13th Nov- edit to add: book was posted a week ago to Lindyloumac.
I will try and contact Dare to Believe again when I have read this, but coincidentally this Bookcrosser dropped out of another ring we were both participating in recently. It seems they are maybe no longer interested in rings and rays due to a change in circumstances.
Update: As no response from Dare to Believe I am assuming they are not interested in this one either.
Anyway I am looking forward to reading this, having glanced at the reviews here they seem to be all 7* with one 4*. It is set in a period of history and in a country I know very little about.
When she is older the orphanage places her in service with a widowed doctor who finds himself falling in love with her. So he is somewhat relieved when she decides to return to live in her home town of Helsinki, to be near her childhood sweetheart Lauri. Now a grown man himself he has also become involved in the fight for freedom against the Russians.
An opportunity for me to learn about somewhere I knew nothing about historically it is an absorbing account of life in Finland in the early 1900s. I preferred the earlier part of the book which is centred on Eeva’s childhood growing up in the Finnish countryside and must admit to finding myself less interested in the account of the political turmoil once the story transferred to Helsinki.
A compassionate story of love and loneliness set against an interesting background.
I have already heard from Martjxox so this will in the post within the next few days. Maybe you or Pell could try Dare To Believe again after reading before it leaves Italy?
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
En route to Martjxox
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
sent the book on wednesday morning. pell should be getting it either today or anyday now! sorry i forgot to post the release note!!!
Some of the descriptions of the winter and the summer in Finland were really nice, but the title doesn't seem to have much to do with the rest of the story.
Thank you for including me in this ring, seethroughfaith!
Now, on to the next reader!
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
mailed to kiwiinengland!
I will read this after another ring I have. Thanks for starting this seethroughfaith, and thanks to Brujula and other participants for sending it on.
I think the title "House of Orphans" has little to do with the actual orphanage and more to do with the fact that Finland was being ruled by a different country and not treated as an individual nation(a direct comparison with orphans being raised by different people and not being treated as individuals.)
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Posted to the next on the list. I hope you enjoy this book.
update : I have tried to pm Iagegu but there's no pm link available so I'll post off to Caroley who is next on the list.
I loved the character of Eeva and thought it interesting how you learned more about the character of Anna-Liisa as the book went on.
Thanks for sharing this Seethroughfaith.
I've PMd MarcThomas and hope to get the book posted on asap.
Thanks seethroughfaith for organising the ring and thanks Caroley for sending it from England.
PMing IWISHIWAS for the address.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
On its way to the next reader. Enjoy!