We Sinners: A Novel by Hanna Pylväinen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"We sinners, we are just lying to ourselves, we are just alone."
We Sinners takes a family of nine, heavily embroiled in a severe form of Finnish Lutheranism that sets the children apart from anyone who isn't from the church, and spends about a chapter on each child as they grow up and have their own families.
I realize that to most people, the religion in this family will be startling. It felt very familiar to me - the conversation Brita has with the boy at school about how she can't go to dances? I can't even say how many times I had that as a teenager, and felt the same feelings of complete mortification. The part I identified with the most is how the daughter who has left the faith feels when she interacts with her family (and how her family treats those who haven't stayed in the faith), and how hard it was to leave. Phew.
Because of my identification with the novel, I had to take a few emotional breaks but also couldn't quit reading it. It is short, but this author is promising. I received an ARC of this after reading a preview of it in a set of BEA promoted previews.