WHY: “Unusual and inventive.
“Oksanen’s third novel to be translated into English takes place in contemporary Finland, where thirtysomething Norma is grieving over the death of her mother, Anita, who committed suicide by jumping in front of a train.
“Anita was fiercely protective of her daughter, guarding the strange secret that Norma’s hair not only grows at an alarming rate but can also sense danger. After her mother’s funeral, Norma discovers that Anita was involved with the shady family of her best friend, Helena, who has long been confined to a mental institution. Helena’s ex-husband, Max Lambert, tells Norma that Anita owed him money and Helena’s daughter, Marion, who owned the salon where Anita worked, was plotting something with Anita before her death. As Norma tries to figure out what Lambert and Marion want from her, she starts to uncover family secrets about her ancestor Eva, who had hair with powers similar to Norma’s.
“Oksanen’s unusual and inventive novel uses hair as a metaphor for women’s power, deftly exploring the ways it can be harnessed or exploited.”
–Kristine Huntley, BOOKLIST