Päivi, an artist, gets a telephone call from her mother to say that her father is on his deathbed. She hurriedly packs her bags and leaves to be with her father during his final days. The family meet in a hospital in North Finland in an attempt to clear the air and find reconciliation.
Laakso takes us through their last days together, with unmistakeable rawness and unsurpassed humour.
It takes exactly one hundred pages for Finnish-Norwegian Päivi Laakso to describe a life. A death in the family puts in motion the thoughts about how a life can be lived. This book is a beautiful little novel.
Clearing the Air represents a refreshingly crafted and different contribution to Norwegian literature
More beautiful than reality
Virtuously beautiful and efficient, Clearing the air is a fine and precise novel written mostly in short sentences and in present tense. In this way the reality of the book feels like it is happening right now, it quivers and it is real, not just a reference or a translation. You will not find any euphemisms, no tiptoeing around the burning hot topics. The level of precision of the language, combined with the absolutely non-sentimental rendition, makes even the most unappetizing topics fascinating. It is just something that is. A prerequisite. ike time. Or gravitation.
The book is quite serious, and serious happenings occur. But the neutral way that it is portrayed makes it at times comical; not least when Päivi in just a few sentences describes her wedding. But this book is neither comedy nor tragedy. It is a piece of outstanding writing, about the small human in endless space.
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