Oksi

Mari Ahokoivu, trans. from the Finnish by Silja-Maaria Aronpuro. Levine Querido, $24.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-64614-112-8
Elements of ancient Finnish myth and song undergird Ahokoivu’s dark worldbuilding as a wordless prologue opens on a snow-covered world studded with black firs. The aurora borealis flickers. A sentient bear kills a deer, only to experience subsequent shadowy visions—and the taunts of the scaup, a black birdlike creature with yellow markings. As the bear brings back the meat for her cubs, readers notice another young creature at home in her den. Bipedal, spritelike Poorling needs her mother (“I am a bear,” she pleads, “your bear”), but she possesses power that will destroy her mother’s love for her. The story of Poorling’s struggle to overcome her need to be loved and to embrace her power travels through generational trauma, transcendent planes of existence, and the primal relationship between mother and daughter in which both possess the power to both create life—and end it. Vignettes and spreads by Finnish newcomer Ahokoivu are fluidly rendered in inky b&w washes; accents of color leap off the page as the translation by Aronpuro flows smoothly. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 08/05/2021
Release date: 10/26/2021
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 400 pages - 978-1-64614-113-5
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