Friday, 31 March 2017

Paras mahdollinen maailma - Riikka Pulkkinen

'Elämästä paljon suurempi osa kuin uskallamme itsellemme myöntää on unta.'

'A much bigger part of life than we dare admit to ourself is a dream.'

Hello again!

This is the other book my mum bought me for Christmas - maybe it's because the main character's father has a stroke or maybe because the book is quite heavily about the Berlin Wall. Maybe it's because she's read books by Riikka Pulkkinen before and I haven't yet. Anyway!

Aurelia was born on the day the Wall fell. Her father is dying in a hospital and she's not answering the calls from her mother. She's an actress and she has just landed a main role in a huge production about the Wall. Her father wanted to say something, before, and now it's too late. Her mother is trying to tell her, but maybe that's too late as well. There's also friends and sex and musings about being and overlapping stories of Berlin and pain and loss and love. In that order. Most of the story is told through Aurelia's eyes, some is through her mom's messages to her, and some is from the past of the director of the play.

The writing is very prose-like, maybe even overly poetic. It goes on and on and on and twists and turns and it's really quite interesting but at the same time you're secretly hoping that maybe just maybe it could stop sometime soon.

The weather has been lovely so most of this
was read outside! (Bought a raspberry
chocolate muffin from Starbucks even
though I shouldn't have because that's
what spring is for!)
A lot of the characters were very well established, which is one of the biggest compliments I can bestow upon this. I liked Aurelia, even though sometimes she got annoying. Sometimes she supposedly could read other people's thoughts and every time she did, they were supposedly thinking of how amazing she herself was. Kind of like seeing a really hot guy and believing that their current thought is that you are a goddess; self-centered and not even realistic. Her friends were nice even though they weren't that prominent, but whatever she had once had with her ex-boyfriend Niklas didn't end up feeling like anything to me. The eccentric director was very interesting, and I think his story ended up being the one that was the most captivating to me. Seija was also incredibly cool, see the following:

'Jos Seijasta on jotain sanottava, hänestä voi sanoa tämän: hän on ihminen joka kantaa käsilaukussaan voiveistä. Koskaan ei tiedä milloin mieli alkaa tehdä juustoa tai kokonaista kakkua, josta leikata palasia.'

'If one had to say something about Seija, it could be this: she is a person who carries a butter knife in her purse. You never know when you start to crave cheese or a whole cake, out of which to cut pieces.' 

Role model, definitely.

On the other hand, I didn't like Aurelia's (dying) father at all, because in the flashbacks from her mum's point of view, he didn't come across all that nice. And this was through the eyes of the woman who loved him. Weird.

This is where I finished the book!
The plot, while captivating at first, kind of fell flat when I learned that there's really nothing more, and the last hundred pages (almost a third of the book) didn't really introduce anything new. Even the twists felt like I already knew, and maybe I did. It was cool to see and hear about what it's (presumably) like to be an actress in a theatre production and I could have definitely read more of that too. Additionally, while all the Berlin imagery and theme was really cool in a way, it was also way too convenient to feel any kind of realistic. In a more light-hearted book I'd definitely let that slide but when a book wants to be taken this seriously, it feels a bit off.

Overall a solid 3.5 though I'll have to round down to a three, since it's not quite a four for me. Will read her other works and hopefully I'll like the plots better then. From what I understand, a lot of people liked those better than this, so that's good to know.

For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this in category 45: A book about a Finnish woman! Kinda self-explanatory, I suppose.

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