Friday, 6 January 2017

The City of Woven Streets - Emmi Itäranta

'Hyvästit oli sanottu moneen kertaan, mutta aina haudattu toisiin sanoihin, eikä niitä lopulta ollut sanottu kertaakaan. Niin me tulemme tänne yhä uudelleen jäähyväiset askeliamme painaen. Ne ovat ikuisesti myöhässä ja poissa paikoiltaan: mennyt hetki, jota emme tunnistaneet silloin, kun se oli ulottuvilla, ja jonka aavetta emme siksi koskaan lakkaa kantamasta mukanamme.'

'Goodbyes had been said many times, but always buried in other words, and in the end they weren't said even once. So we come here over and over again with farewells weighing our steps. They are eternally late and out of place: the past moment that we didn't recognise when it was within reach, and the ghost of which we will therefore never stop carrying with us.'

I have a nice hardback of this but how
many fireplace pictures can one have
in a row? Also, how pretty is that
Hey! Happy new year! I finally read a Finnish book in what is really 2017 and not eagerly all too early. It's my birthday tomorrow so it's nice that I'll get to start a new book for the occasion. 😃

I got this book from my mum last Christmas and finally got around to it (I must admit I rarely get around to reading anything as far as I'm concerned...). It's a Finnish book but it's also English, curiously. What I mean is that this book was written in Finnish and English at the same time, side by side by the author.

The City of Woven Streets is one of those books with an intricately built world that don't manage to utilise it as well as one would wish, but still make tremendously good stories. The world of this one is quite literally a city of woven streets, as the main character, Eliana, is a young weaver from the House of Webs. She lives on a small island plagued by floods where people are separated by skill and those who dream are put away. One day, a girl with her tongue got off is brought to her, with Eliana's name tattooed on her palm with invisible ink. What's up with that, that's the question. At the same time, an illness thought to have been conquered starts to plague the island. And dreams, also.

As I said, the world is more intricate than what the story might deserve. The island is very interesting, but Eliana's obviously limited view of it doesn't provide enough insight to make much use of this fact. She lives in a very secluded environment and through the length of the whole book only sees the streets maybe once or twice. She has a brother in a different house but he doesn't provide much information about his way of living either, the one or two times we see him. Maybe if this book could have had another main character with a world view different from Eliana's, it would have helped to utilise the environment better. Or even a sequel, because the end was rushed and heavy on description, leaving quite a bit to be desired. There's also some threads of plot points that are visited very very very briefly and never returned to, which further made me want more.

Eliana as a character was a little bland. I didn't get much out of her personality and I couldn't tell you all too much about her. Whatever backstory there was is written much too poetically to provide much information. Maybe everyone in this world lacks individualism and this is just a token of that, but as a main character, I didn't really warm up to her. This is not to say she doesn't go through some heavy personal growth, though. That was really nice.

The language of this book is really, really pretty and technically speaking the book is very well made. After the initial hook of the mute girl and the tattoo, it was also pretty easy to get into, though some of the pages upon pages of description didn't keep me fully interested.

All in all, I'd give this a 3.5 stars and recommend it. If you like poetic books with well-built worlds, you'll like this. If a great story is everything to you however, I would maybe not advise you to read this book.

No comments:

Post a Comment