I tried. I really, really, really did. For the sake of book club I picked it up and put it down....over and over and over again. I tried in the morning, on the way to work, at lunch and in the evening. But it was just no good. Purge by Sofi Oksanen failed to hold my interest at all. The characters were unrelatable and seemed mere parodies of what I am sure were sincere hardship experienced in Estonia during the Cold War. Sometimes novels are slow burning, they take a while to get into the literary flow. But this was flat and stilting and I found it impossible to engage let alone force myself to turn another page.
This however, is what we join a book club for. To have our horizons expanded and be introduced to works of fiction that we would otherwise avoid and from time to time a real gem can be found. And so it was with some trepidation that I looked at the next book. Which was to be discussed at the next meeting. Which was Wednesday 27th Oct (I checked the list last Friday lol). Soooo thanks to Amazon the book arrived in my little paws last Monday and has now been read, digested and I am armed with comments.
But it did strike me as peculiar that I can be so at home with Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray and yet struggle completely with war-torn Estonia. Either way, there is alot to discuss about Wilde's descriptive prose, his insistence on the beauty of man and the empty-headedness of woman as well as the idea that possibly each main character is actually himself at different times of his life. He certainly expounds his theories on happiness, love, art and beauty within this novel which touches upon the fragility of youth and the things we will do to preserve it. It's telling that the never-ending quest for youthfulness is even bigger today than perhaps it was then. I wonder what Oscar Wilde would have made of plastic surgery, perhaps he would have been its greatest advocate. Myself, I believe that the inner beauty of the soul shines through and is far more beautiful than any physical appearance can ever be.