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We Sinners: A Novel Hardcover – August 21, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2012: At the center of We Sinners is the Rovaniemi family--two parents and nine children, all adherents of a hyper-conservative Finnish church in the Midwest. Each chapter takes the perspective of a different family member, furthering the tension between the belief that faith should bring family together and the fact that it is tearing the Rovaniemis apart. We Sinners is an impressive debut, a showcase of Hanna Pylväinen's gift for nuanced storytelling and an eye for beautiful, economical prose. But perhaps most impressive is that Pylväinen isn't afraid to take big risks with her first novel; the ending--which diverges greatly from the book's structure--drew a mixed reaction with our editorial staff. But love it or hate it, I found that I kept thinking about We Sinners long after I had set it on my bookshelf. -- Kevin Nguyen
“We Sinners is remarkably funny for a book about a deeply religious family grappling with loss of faith. . . It's impossible not to like these characters, so beautifully drawn, and so very loving to one another.” ―Los Angeles Times
“[A] nuanced portrait of an unnuanced world.” ―The New York Times
“Captivating . . . The beauty of We Sinners lies in its extraordinary ordinariness.” ―Washington Independent Review of Books
“[A] spare, quietly devastating novel.” ―The Boston Globe
“In some ways, the Rovaniemi family is like ordinary American families, with sibling rivalries, birth order issues and parental expectations. But the questions about faith--how it binds the family together but also mutates and divides it--elevate it beyond the confines of the traditional domestic novel and into a resonant and magical work of imagination.” ―The Chicago Tribune
“A beautiful, understated novel. [Pylväinen] tells a sophisticated, precise story about the nature and need for rebellion, set off against our need to belong. We Sinners hums with rare respect for religious outsiders.” ―Cleveland Plain Dealer
“In We Sinners, Pylvainen deftly explores this dance between oppression and liberation, between belief and unbelief, and shows the gray areas. These are not polarities but gradations of human experience. We all move in and out of various communities and belief systems, searching for love and acceptance. Often we search for forgiveness. This novel shows that sometimes it's found in strange places.” ―The Wichita Eagle
“Characters who could be painted in grand strokes as villains or angels are small, fragile, and very human. We Sinners brilliantly, unforgettably reconfigures Tolstoy's adage about happy and unhappy families: ‘happy and unhappy, every family is.'” ―Publishers Weekly, Galley Talk