Review: ‘Fargoer’ by Petteri Hannila

2013
Jyvaskyla

Translated by Peitsa Suoniemi, Miika Hannila and Petteri Hannila, from
the  novel ‘Kaukamoinen’

Set in the eight/ninth century this book tells the story of Vierra, called the Fargoer, from her coming of age when she learns that her fate  from the tribe’s First Mother, through her marriage to the escaped prisoner of a neighbouring tribe, captivity and slavery among the Vikings, before escaping and returning to wonder her own lands. Eventually, with the help of the Spirits she discovers her fate is far to the south.

It took me a while to get in to this book; I was about 25% of the way through, about the point  Vierra decided to attack a large band of Vikings with only her bow. From then on I was hooked; I couldn’t  put it down. The description is evocative and the character of Vierra is sympathetic and well developed. I felt the cold of winter in the forests.

There were a few instances where the translation is awkward. The phrases don’t quite flow properly and sometimes the wrong word is used. With the exception if Vierra the characters all seem superficial, there’s very little character development.

My favourite character, though she’s only present infrequently is the apprentice witch red-haired Rika. I especially like her laughing owl. I want to know more about her: where did she come from, why was she chosen by the tribal witch, does she have her own story to tell?

4/5

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