Back with marathon number two book number two: another Finnish one, this time last year's Finlandia nominee (you might remember how Akvarelleja Engelin kaupungista was the winner, and I would be tempted to say rightfully so)
Eurooppalaiset unet ('European Dreams') felt, to me, like a café with a fancy exterior that tries to appeal to a more academically inclined crowd in the most expensive part of the city. When you step inside however, you come to realise that there's nothing that's really groundbreaking or worth your time in this faux-fancy establishment.
Now, the book isn't actually quite that bad. There's actual quality to it, just quality that somehow comes across as trying too hard and failing because of it.
The idea is that there's all these people (maybe eight or so, I lost count) around Europe who lead different lives with their own problems, but eventually most of their stories actually weave together to create a semblance of connection. Like, on the level that some character's brother's daughter is working with some other character 20 years later. And while I see that was supposed to be amazing to me, well... it felt more like that person could have been working with anyone else without it having any implications for their lives.
Also, it was, again, (check out Kissani Jugoslavia for more of this) a bit too artsy. Someone got this superpower of sorts (not much of a spoiler since it's on the back cover) which didn't make any sense to me and I never found out if it was real or not. It was odd in a story that otherwise felt real.
I really wanted to like this book. I thought that the idea was cool, but obviously I wanted some deeper connections than what this had. The stories themselves were quite good and even harrowing but my topmost feeling is disappointment and I can't really shake that. What with the EU and all (having 'European' in your title is bound to draw these comparisons), I wanted a book about how deeply we're all connected these days. This wasn't that book.
I don't have much else to say. I feel like this book didn't have much to say to me either.
For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this in category 17: A book cover colours are blue and white!