Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Everyone at the PGC office was thrilled that one of their favourite novels of the spring season scored a great review, and the cover, in the New York Times book section this past Sunday.
When I Forgot by Elina Hirvonen
Published by Tin House Books
An astonishingly assured and compelling debut, When I Forgot explores the relationship between a sister and her brother, the past that they share, and the painful memories that shape their lives forever.
Anna is on her way to the hospital where her brother has been institutionalized when she falters, and in that pause her world splinters in a blazing display of memory and madness, of childhood security treasured and shattered, and of families blighted by psychological trauma—her brother's and that of her boyfriend's father, a Vietnam vet. September 11 serves as a backdrop for the story, and the Finnish perspective on America and its politics is as uncomfortable as it is compelling. In Elina Hirvonen's skillful hands, the grimness is illuminated by firecracker insight and surprising beauty. And, above all, there is hope.
When I Forgot is Elina Hirvonen's first novel. Hirvonen is a celebrity in Finland, where she has previously been a TV presenter and chat show host. She has just finished her first documentary, which focuses on African migration to Europe. She is a passionate traveler and has journeyed independently through thirty different countries.
Available at your favourite local bookstore or