Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: We Sinners

The Rovaniemi family. eleven members, fundamentalist Lutherans, eschew most of the pleasures of modern living, and many of the pleasures of emotional comfort. They avoid television and dancing and worry about emotional complacency. Told through the viewpoints of each of the family members, we see how eleven different individuals experience a particularly rigorous form of fundamentalism. Three of the nine children decide to leave the church.

This is a decidedly sympathetic portrait of a fundamentalist family. The characters are complicated, and their relationships to religion vary. That said, I was struck by how much sadness was intertwined with religion. None of the characters is happy. None is even content, and there is little way out, either through faith or outside of it. The Finnish fundamentalist community is a tight one, one I didn't even know existed. This was an interesting read, but a depressing one too. No one finds happiness, and it quickly becomes clear that no one will.

Hanna Pylvainen, We Sinners (Henry Holt, 2012) ISBN: 0805095330 

No comments: