Written by Sofi Oksanen
Translated by Owen Witesman
From the international bestselling author of Purge and When the Doves Disappeared comes a spellbinding new novel set in present-day Helsinki about a young woman with a fantastical secret who is trying to solve the mystery of her mother’s death.
When Anita Naakka jumps in front of an oncoming train, her daughter, Norma, is left alone with the secret they have spent their lives hiding: Norma has supernatural hair, sensitive to the slightest changes in her mood — and the moods of those around her — moving of its own accord, corkscrewing when danger is near. And so it is her hair that alerts her, while she talks with a strange man at her mother’s funeral, that her mother may not have taken her own life.
Setting out to reconstruct Anita’s final months — sifting through puzzling cell phone records, bank statements, video files — Norma begins to realize that her mother knew more about her hair’s power than she let on: a sinister truth beyond Norma’s imagining.
As Sofi Oksanen leads us deeper into Norma’s world, weaving together past and present, she gives us a dark family drama that is a searing portrait of both the exploitation of women’s bodies and the extremes to which people will go for the sake of beauty.
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 latest novel, Norma, is a #1 bestseller in Finland and has been shortlisted for the Young Aleksis Literature Prize. She has also received the Budapest Grand Prize and the European Book Prize. She lives in Helsinki.