5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Language and memory,
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This review is from: New Finnish Grammar (Dedalus Europe 2011) (Kindle Edition)
New Finnish Grammar is about memory and identity and language all mixed together - because in reality these three are all mixed together.
During WWII a man is found near the exploded wreck of a Finnish gunboat. He has total amnesia. The doctor who treats him assumes, for several reasons, that he is Finnish and sends him to a friend in Finland hoping to retrieve his memory. But the man, now named Sampo, remains rootless, homeless and lonely. He painfully learns Finnish, he's introduced to the ethic culture of Finland via the Kalavala, he finds a sort of love But, as indicated in the Prologue so this is not a spoiler - he's not from Finland.
Marani does a splendid job of portraying a man without a past, seeking his past, scared and lonely and completely outside of his element without a clue about where to go. Finnish is unfamiliar to most readers so Sampo's disconnect is well transmitted.