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Tekijä: Kati Hiekkapelto
Ei tämänhetkisiä Keskustelu-viestiketjuja tästä kirjasta.
Set in Helsinki, this case begins with an old man being run over by a Hungarian au pair. She claims that he was just lying there on the road, his eyes open, and that her car slid on the icy road, and she was powerless to stop it.
The title is the clue that this translated novel is more than just about what on the surface is a road accident. It is also about immigrants and refugees who have come to Finland looking for a better life, and the reality of what they find.
Policewoman Anna Fekete is herself an immigrant and knows well how many of those she deals with from day to day feel. But she has a determination to make the best of life and to get on with things, which many of the victims of crime don't have.
THE DEFENCELESS is the author's second novel and won the best Finnish Crime Novel in 2014
Ein Thriller, wie auf dem Buchcover deklariert, ist das Buch sicher nicht. Dazu ist es zu wenig spannend und reißerisch. Eher ist es ein sozialkritischer Krimi, der relativ subtil das Thema "Flüchtlinge" aufgreift.
Und das finde ich ziemlich gelungen, denn sowohl die Kommissarin Anna ist ein Flüchtling (Serbien), als auch einer der Verdächtigen (Pakistan). Insofern wird deutlich, dass Flucht ein Dauerthema ist, es wird klar, welche Motive die Menschen verfolgen und es wird auch klar, das niemand gern die Heimat verlässt, in der er Klima, Bräuche, Menschen, Sprache kennt.
Doch das Thema ist auch nicht zu dominant, der Fall selber geht in alle Richtungen: Drogen, organisierte Kriminalität, Habgier.
Finnland als Handlungsort fand ich auch interessant.
It was written before last year’s migrant ‘crisis’ in Europe had news watchers transfixed but that just makes Kati Hiekkapelto appear to have excellent predictive skills in addition to her writing chops. Because I couldn’t help but think what an incredibly timely and topical book THE DEFENCELESS is (and that, Ian Rankin, is why I read crime fiction, not because I am fascinated by evil).
Only the second installment of a series set in northern Finland, the book tackles the subject of immigration from many angles and gives a strong indication that Hiekkapelto is set to walk in the footsteps of writers as diverse as Sjöwall and Wahlöö and Sara Paretsky who choose the crime genre as an overlay for incisive social commentary.
The first person we meet is Sammy; a young man who made his way into the country illegally because, as a Christian, his life was in danger when the Taliban took over his home. His plight, which plays out across the length of the novel, would, surely, make even the iciest heart melt a little as his choices narrow and his future becomes bleaker.
From another angle we watch a grizzled old (well old-ish I guess at 56) policeman tackle the brutalities of an immigrant gang working very hard to gain a foothold in the country as they have done elsewhere in Europe. Esko, the aforementioned policeman, is hard to like as he holds some confronting attitudes but nor can he be dismissed simply as a right-wing reactionary. Not all his views are questionable and even those which are do not stem from evil intent. In short, he is a complicated person, neither all right nor all wrong, just like most real humans and unlike almost everyone with a voice in modern media.
Anna Fekete is surely the poster girl for successful immigration; having arrived in the country as a child when her family had to flee what was Yugoslavia she has stayed on to serve first in the army and now as a policewoman. But she still has strong feelings of being outsider, especially as it looks as though she will be the last of her family to remain in her adoptive home. In this novel she investigates what appears, at first, to be a simple motor vehicle accident and through this is introduced to yet another kind of immigrant. The woman who ran over Vilho Karppinen is a young au pair in the country on a temporary visa, looking to have a bit of fun (and possibly snare a husband) and she soon irritates Anna. The investigation takes a more interesting turn though and exposes yet more sides to the immigration issue.
Unlike most of the so-called commentary I’ve caught concerning the world’s latest refugee crisis THE DEFENCELESS explores a tangential subject in all its complexity, requiring more than sound bites and hand-ringing if things are to improve. In fact it was probably grumpy, sometimes reprehensible Esko who comes closest to a single solution, even if the motivator for his thinking might have been a selfish one.
THE DEFENCELESS is probably a bit too grim to be called enjoyable but I found it a satisfying and thought-provoking read and a great way to kick off my year’s reading.
Rate a thriller at five stars? That's something I almost never do, but this one is different. To begin with, it's a terrific thriller -- briskly paced, well plotted, with an unusual twist at the end. The story, the second available in English from this Finnish author, is set in a northern Finnish city: the backdrop, in particular the influence of climate, is vividly realized. Most of the characters are interesting and highly individualized (if not always highly likable). The central character is both convincing and appealing. And the writing/translation is supple and clear.
But what gets it that fifth star is something that puts it beyond the usual thriller -- the central theme is right out of today's headlines, and it is treated brilliantly. That theme is refugee immigration into Europe, and the book gives us a 360 degree view of the issue. Our heroine is herself a refugee, though highly "Finnicized", her family having fled to Finland during the Balkan wars of the 1990's. The most obvious suspect is a Pakistani in Finland illegally, while a group of suspects who emerge gradually are members of a Muslim gang. Some of the native Finns are friendly to immigrants, while others are strongly anti-immigrant. And neither immigrants nor anti-immigrants are treated as being entirely good or bad, entirely right or wrong, or at all homogenous. This gave me an inside view of what large-scale Muslim immigration into Europe is like, from the point of view of the immigrants and from the point of view of the native-born. That's a lot more complexity, and a lot more insight, than Iusually get from a thriller.
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
When an old man is found dead on the road - seemingly run over by a Hungarian au pair - police investigator Anna Fekete is certain that there is more to the incident than meets the eye. As she begins to unravel an increasingly complex case, she's led on a deadly trail where illegal immigration, drugs and, ultimately, murder threaten not only her beliefs, but her life. Anna's partner Esko is entrenched in a separate but equally dangerous investigation into the activities of an immigrant gang, where deportation orders and raids cause increasing tension and result in desperate measures by gang members - and the police themselves. Then a bloody knife is found in the snow, and the two cases come together in ways that no one could have predicted. As pressure mounts, it becomes clear that having the law on their side may not be enough for Anna and Esko.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)894.54134Literature Literature of other languages Altaic, Finno-Ugric, Uralic and Dravidian languages Fenno-Ugric languages Fennic languages Finnish Finnish fiction 2000–
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Oletko sinä tämä henkilö?
There is a lot of action but I found the book very slow going. I got this book through the NY Times book review section on Nordic Noir but will probably not read any more by this author. ( )