I have just finished reading “At the Edge of Light” by Maria Peura. It is translated from Finnish and was a random choice in my recent book order from Amazom. I found it through looking at the lists of translated literature on Booktrust’s website and fancied something different. Booktrust reviewed the book and i was intrigued by it because i havent read anything from Finland before (except maybe the Moomins!).
The novel follows young teenage Kristina as she finds her way through adolescence in the sometimes grim northern Finland. The setting is pretty dramatic, surrounded by snow, ice and the winter darkness, then the summer months bring the dangerous cracking of the river ice. Kristina is a troubled soul, but with a vivid imagination: sometimes it is difficult to work out what is real and what is in her head. It covers many topics which teens face: sex, drugs, family issues, peer pressure, mental illness, and death. She struggles living in such a harsh climate and tries to help herself by comfort eating and then not eating at all.
This book doesn’t seem suitable for a younger audience, despite the narrator’s young age, as there is a lot of references to sex, death and drugs, and i found it rather difficult to read at points. However, i suspect it could be quite educational because it interprets the struggles of a teenager trying to come to terms with growing up, while living in a tight-knit community where secrets are impossible, and in a harsh climate which can affect your emotions and well-being quite a lot.
I don’t regret buying this book because it is different and its always good to expand what you read. I’m intrigued by Maria Peura after reading this novel, so i think i will see what else she has written! I give this book 7/10 because although it is really well written and covers some interesting topics, its a little bit dark for my liking.