Dog Park

Dog Park

Written by: Oksanen, Sofi
Translated by: Witesman, Owen F.

From Sofi Oksanen, the internationally bestselling author of Purge, comes a captivating story about a woman unable to escape the memory of her lost child, the ruthless powers that still haunt her, and the lies that could well end up saving her.

Helsinki, 2016. Olenka sits on a bench, watching a family play in a dog park. A stranger sits down beside her. Olenka startles; she would recognize this other woman anywhere. After all, Olenka was the one who ruined her life. And this woman may be about to do the same to Olenka. Yet, for a fragile moment, here they are, together — looking at their own children being raised by other people. 

Moving seamlessly between modern-day Finland and Ukraine in the early days of its post-Soviet independence, Dog Park is a keenly observed, dark, and propulsive novel set at the intersection of East and West, centered on a web of exploitation and the commodification of the female body. 

From Sofi Oksanen, the internationally bestselling author of Purge, comes a captivating story about a woman unable to escape the memory of her lost child, the ruthless powers that still haunt her, and the lies that could well end up saving her.

Helsinki, 2016. Olenka sits on a bench, watching a family play in a dog park. A stranger sits down beside her. Olenka startles; she would recognize this other woman anywhere. After all, Olenka was the one who ruined her life. And this woman may be about to do the same to Olenka. Yet, for a fragile moment, here they are, together — looking at their own children being raised by other people. 

Moving seamlessly between modern-day Finland and Ukraine in the early days of its post-Soviet independence, Dog Park is a keenly observed, dark, and propulsive novel set at the intersection of East and West, centered on a web of exploitation and the commodification of the female body. 

Published By House of Anansi Press Inc — Oct 5, 2021
Specifications 352 pages | 6 in x 9 in
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Excerpt
Written By

SOFI OKSANEN is a Finnish Estonian novelist and playwright. Her novel Purge won the Prix Femina and the Nordic Council Literature Prize, and When the Doves Disappeared was the winner of the Swedish Academy Nordic Prize and longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. Her previous novel, Norma, was a #1 bestseller in Finland and was a finalist for the Young Aleksis Literature Prize and the New Academy Prize in Literature. Oksanen was recently awarded a Medal of Honour by the Ukrainian Association in Finland. She has also received the Budapest Grand Prize, the European Book Prize, and the Chevalier Medal of Honour from the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France. She lives in Helsinki.

In Dog Park, as in her other fictions, Ms. Oksanen mines living history, digging up toxic societal elements that have explosive power … The slow build and devious plotting of Dog Park will tantalize the Rubik’s Cube–minded, and the book offers the retrospective satisfaction of infinite replay, like a game with multiple resolutions.


” —Wall Street Journal

PRAISE FOR SOFI OKSANEN AND DOG PARK

“In Dog Park, as in her other fictions, Ms. Oksanen mines living history, digging up toxic societal elements that have explosive power … The slow build and devious plotting of Dog Park will tantalize the Rubik’s Cube–minded, and the book offers the retrospective satisfaction of infinite replay, like a game with multiple resolutions.” — Wall Street Journal

“Sofi Oksanen returns to the top of the literary world with Dog Park … She depicts this society and especially how women become victims of cynicism and corruption with a poignantly clear gaze … One of her best.” — Dagsavisen (Norway)

“Oksanen perfectly masters both mood and metaphor … The egg donors of Dog Park find their counterparts in the female slaves of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments.” — Kaleva (Finland)

PRAISE FOR SOFI OKSANEN AND NORMA

Finalist, Young Aleksis Literature Prize

“[An] ambitious contemporary fantasy novel … Oksanen creates intricate characters and imagery.” — Publishers Weekly

“Oksanen, author of the internationally bestselling Purge, has a rather delightful imagination, and it is a wonder to watch her spin her outrageous story with the utter seriousness of your average thriller.” — Star Tribune

“Extremely well-researched and always with a focus on the women … If you’re into a mix of gothic novels, magical realism, feminism, and social criticism, then Norma is just right for you.” — Elle (Denmark)

“Sofi Oksanen is one of the brightest shining stars in Nordic literature … I want to devour [Norma] whole — and at the same time pause to make it last longer. Sofi Oksanen is simply fantastic, and here she is at her best.” — Norrköpings Tidningar (Sweden)

“A peculiar and disturbing novel evoking the universe of the filmmaker David Cronenberg … Norma impresses as much as it sends shivers down our spines.” — Lire (France) 

PRAISE FOR SOFI OKSANEN AND WHEN THE DOVES DISAPPEARED

Winner, Swedish Academy Nordic Prize

Winner, Budapest Grand Prize

Longlist, International Dublin Literary Award

A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book

An Independent Best Translated Book of the Year

International Bestseller

Whenthe Doves Disappeared is indeed a thrilling page-turner, but it is equally a shattering family drama and an unsparing deconstruction of history … This [is] a perfect time to read this superb writer.” — Independent

“Piercing … A chilling story of loss and betrayal.” — The New Yorker

“Flawless … Accomplished … A singular voice … Oksanen’s insights and intuition mean she is fast becoming one of the foremost voices in the ex-Communist world.” — Economist

“Sofi Oksanen has woven a story of betrayal, lies, political deceit, and modern history into a brilliant novel. [It’s a] great thriller about a part of the world not well-known to Western readers. Sofi Oksanen is a writer to watch.” — Globe and Mail

“No one in these pages is predictable, because survival in this period, Oksanen so beautifully reveals, meant learning to love only from the part of the heart that knows how to betray.” — Toronto Star

“During and after the Second World War, the boundaries and power structures of Europe changed dramatically. In this fourth novel, Oksanen, who has won the Swedish Academy Nordic Prize and Budapest Grand Prize, traces those changes through the lives of one Estonian family … The fragmented narrative, adeptly translated by Rogers, switches between the Third Reich and the height of Soviet power, using these two time periods to make ideal use of dramatic irony, to render understandable collusion with the enemy as well as portray its consequences, and to evoke sympathy for a man whose ambition leads him to commit terrible atrocities. Oksanen manages to relate these stories without horror or judgment, and reminds the reader that, whatever else people in wartime may do, they are human creatures, and not the one-dimensional monsters that history makes them seem to be.” — Publishers Weekly,STARRED REVIEW

“Meticulously precise prose … This is powerful fiction that stirs history, war crimes, and psychology into a compelling mix.” — Booklist

“Oksanen depicts civilian life in wartime and under communist oppression in rich historical detail, skillfully manipulating chronology and threading clues subtly throughout the narrative as suspense builds. Highly recommended.” — Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Oksanen’s temporal shifts weave an intrigue that builds to moments of shocking revelation. This is a tense, politically relevant novel that asks: what would you do to survive?” — Financial Times

“Superb … Oksanen, a great post–Russian Empire writer, has helped to return Estonia to the consciousness of the West.” — Telegraph

PRAISE FOR SOFI OKSANEN AND PURGE

Winner Prix Femina

Winner, Runeberg and Finlandia Literary Awards

Winner, Nordic Council Literature Prize

Winner, Fnac Prize for Novel of the Year (Le Prix du Roman Fnac)

A Sunday Times Best Book of the Year 2010

A TimesLiterary Supplement (UK) Book of the Year 2010

An L Magazine Top 10 Book of 2010

A Barnes & Noble Summer 2010 Discover title

International Bestseller

“[A] bold combination of history, politics, and suspense.” — Sunday Times (UK)

Purge is a … brilliant piece of work that does not easily relinquish its grip on the reader’s imagination.” — Times of London

“A bravura work, deeply engaged with [Estonia’s] knotted history, sparing but potent in its use of irony and containing an empathic treatment of all the miserable choices Estonians faced during their periods of oppression … Oksanen has crafted a stirring and humane work of art.” — New Republic

“This wonderfully subtle thriller … captures both the tragic consequences of one of Europe’s biggest conflicts and the universal horrors that war inflicts on women. With a tone somewhere between Ian McEwan’s Atonement and the best of the current crop of European crime novelists, this bitter gem promises great things from the talented Oksanen.” — Kirkus Reviews

“In Purge, Sofi Oksanen removes all taboos, from the violence of half a century of Soviet occupation to the regular exploitation of the female body … In addition to the moving and breathtaking plot, the power of Purge is in this striking parallel between the oppression of women and of a whole country … Sofi Oksanen describes the trauma, whether personal or collective, with chilling accuracy.” — Elle (France)

Purge is a story of gulag survival, repression, and the tale of two sisters in love with the same man. Sofi Oksanen is a literary sensation and a very nice discovery. From Finland with pain.” — Marie Claire (Italy)

“In the ingeniously constructed Purge, Sofi Oksanen redeems her Estonian characters’ victimization by history through unflinching intensity of observation.” — Times Literary Supplement, “Books of the Year”

“A riveting tale … Oksanen adeptly handles dual storylines and multiple points of view as she keeps us turning pages to reach the dramatic conclusion. Highly recommended for fans of classic Russian writers like Tolstoy and Pasternak, as well as those who enjoy a contemporary tale of lust and betrayal.” — Library Journal

“Vivid … Life in Estonia under Soviet rule is dramatically portrayed in this award-winning Finnish novel … Oksanen paints a vivid picture of the landscape and people of Estonia. She deftly interweaves universal themes of love, isolation, political instability, and human trafficking, involving the reader from the beginning to the surprising ending . . . Her frank, short sentences bore to the ‘truth’ in a direct style that her characters are unable to use.” — Winnipeg Free Press

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