Nominated by:

Tartu Public Library, Estonia

Helsinki City Library, Finland

Deichmanske Bibliotek, Oslo, Norway

Publisher of nominated edition:

Atlantic Books, UK

Alfred A. Knopf, USA

When the Doves Disappeared

Sofi Oksanen    

Translated from the original Finnish by Lola Rogers

Communist Estonia, 1941. As the Allies and the Axis clash in battle, two Estonian cousins are fleeing from the Red Army: Roland, a loyal freedom fighter, and Edgar, an opportunistic mercenary. When the Nazis take control of the country, Roland goes into hiding. Edgar abandons his wife, Juudit, and transforms himself into a loyal supporter of Hitler’s regime.

Flash forward to 1963: Estonia is back under communist control behind the Iron Curtain. Edgar has taken on yet another identity as a Soviet apparatchik, desperate to hide the secrets of his past and maintain his connections to power. But his fate remains entangled with Roland and Juudit, who may hold the key to uncovering the truth. In a fast-paced page-turner that switches between these two time periods, Sofi Oksanen brings to life an unforgettable story of deception, surveillance, passion, and betrayal.

(from publisher)

About the Author

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.

Librarians’ Comments

A multi-layered and fast-paced historical novel exploring Estonia’s 20th century history of occupation, mass deportations, collaboration and corruption. Written in a thrilling, intense and vivid prose, the book is both politically and literally relevant.

Oksanen’s novel, set in Estonia in the 1940s and the 1960s, during one German and two Soviet occupations, is a cleverly written, powerful portrait of people’s moral choices, the freedom to choose, or the lack of choice, in difficult situations.

A thrilling story about Estonia and Baltic history during and after World War 2. Love and betrayal, a page-turner.

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