Spain Remembers

Spain Remembers

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What do you do when you start a trilogy by reading the second book first? If the trilogy is the classic Under the North Star by Vaino Linna, you become so enthralled you are motivated to go backwards and read the first volume and then, still living with the characters, walk with them through the final volume.

The books, set in Finland in the small village of Pentti Corners, span the first fifty years of the twentieth century using a set of interesting characters ranging from the aristocratic Swedish speaking “Baron” to the tenant farmer Jussi who aims to hold on to his small holding against the chicanery of the rapacious pastor and his wife. The history of Finland is subtly woven into the events by a master story teller whose characters, each with a distinctive voice, come alive on the page.

Why did I start with the second volume, called “The Uprising?” I was curious about the Finnish Civil War of 1920. Many Finnish families immigrated into the Thunder Bay region after that brutal and disastrous conflict. The final volume, The Reconciliation, brings the surviving inhabitants of Pentti’s Corners into a modern but still violent world.

Highly recommended and available at The Finn Book Store.

Sometimes you buy a book because it is beautiful. I bought Seven Sacred Teachings by David Bouchard and Joseph Martin because I was enchanted by the brilliantly coloured illustrations by Kristy Cameron of Atikokan. I also enjoyed reading “You cannot love unless you are honest,” and other Anishinabe teachings which often use examples from the behaviour of northern forest animals. I bought this book at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.

In The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon, the philosopher Aristotle moves to Macedonia at the request of an old friend, King Philip. Aristotle will end up tutoring the king’s son, Alexander, a smart, violent and war-loving little boy. Lyon’s impeccable and fluid prose combined with solid research brings the ancient world to life. The novel was nominated for both the Giller and the Governor General awards and won the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. A gripping read. Available at The Northern Women’s Bookstore and Chapters.

No comments:

Post a Comment