Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Josir Jalatvan eriskummallinen elämä - Siiri Enoranta

'Ja joskus vielä ostaisin Miholle oman ilmalaivan ja tusinan täysiverisiä hevosia ja lakritsitehtaan ja kaikkien Aurosian hylättyjen rautatieasemien valtavat kellot.'

'And one day yet I would buy Miho his own airship and a dozen purebreed horses and a liquorice factory and the huge clocks of all of Aurosia's abandoned railway stations.'


You can also find my reviews on Gisellen kuolema and Surunhauras, lasinterävä by the author on my blog!

As I may have mentioned previously, Siiri Enoranta is one of my favourite authors, and her Nokkosvallankumous is one of my favourite books. Therefore I'm obviously always on board when she releases a new book. Mum bought me this one in Helsinki at the end of my Christmas break, and I finally finished it [in March, whoops update speed]!

Josir Jalatvan eriskummallinen elämä ('The Bizarre Life of Josir Jalatva', if I were to translate it myself, although you could also replace 'bizarre' with 'queer' and you'd describe this book pretty well) sees Josir, the son of the owner of the famous Circus Maximissimi, fall in love with Micholei, who's a clocksmith in the making. Their life of parties, drugs and hedonism is soon interrupted by a vasar, a person with powers supposedly bestowed upon them by God, cursing Miho to switch bodies every now and again. Because the only way to undo such a curse is to get the same vasar to undo it, they put together a circus and travel the continent of Aurosia to fix things.

Along the journey people are picked up to join the circus, cities are visited, shows are had, and there's quite a few adventures of different kinds. The characters are the highlight of this story, but sometimes it felt like there were simply too many for all of them to stay relevant and separate in my mind.

I love the circus, honestly. I've gone just about every year for most of my life. So this book called out to me immediately when it was first announced. However, the circus and the travels kind of take a back seat in the story, and the main focus is on questions of self, gender and body. It was interesting, but I felt like often the same revelations were announced multiple times, dressed up slightly differently. I think I wanted a different book based on the same premise and would have liked this one more if it was dressed up differently.

On the other hand, Enoranta's writing style is incredible, and I love her run-on sentences and the storytelling that's borderlining stream of consciousness. There's also chapters from the point of view from many different characters, and they all have a very distinctive voice. It's a beautifully written story that explores many questions that the contemporary world wants answered every single day, but the plot of it left me hoping for a bit more.

PS. The raspberry pastry on the cover of this book looks so tasty and I want one now, although bad things happen because of it in the book and I'm not sure if it's worth the risk.

PPS. Enoranta's new book has just come out so stay tuned while I hunt down a copy somewhere!

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