Book Review | In Nadja Sokura’s dystopia, young people are looking for their own way

Unknown roads is the first novel by Nadja Sokura from Helsinki.


Nadja Sokura: Unknown roads. Who is the co-op? 269 ​​pp.

World there are plenty of stories in which the remnants of humanity try to survive in the landscapes after a major disaster. This year, the topic has been covered by several domestic authors. One of them is from Helsinki Nadja Sokura. His debut novel Unknown roads approaches the theme from a more original angle than average.

The gods arrived on Earth fifty years before the events of the book. Giant figures sow death by their mere existence. The few survivors shut themselves up in the malls, where they have lived ever since.

There is no question of going out, for the gods still walk the earth. Interconnections between human communities are limited only to those communities that are accessible through the underground subway tunnel network.

Whether the beings called gods are really gods is another question altogether.

The story of the book carrying two young perspective persons. Livia and Aina live in a former shopping center called Reuna. Life has settled into its new limited ways, and the days are spent with everyday chores.

The wonders of the old world, from cars to information networks, are mostly fairy tales for them. The outside air with winds and rains is just an imagination.

In the squeeze of the cramped scenes, Livia and Aina are looking for themselves. Livia struggles with her insecurities and feelings of shame. He would like to be much braver and more outspoken than he is.

Aina is also troubled by uncertainty and the feeling that she is not good enough. In his thoughts, he laments over and over again how he is unable to make genuine contact with other people.

Self-images however, do not tell the whole truth. From Aina’s point of view, Livia seems like a wind-up who does what she likes and gets everything she wants. On the other hand, from Livia’s point of view, Aina is nothing but joy and a smile, someone who knows how to talk to people.

The relationship of best friends is put to the test many times when neither can or dares to express their deepest feelings and thoughts to the other.

The book has a lot of emotional turmoil of youth, but through this we also get to know the characters’ steps towards adulthood. Both Livia and Aina break away from their safety nets and go out to experience the world. At the same time, they change as people and find their own strengths.

Because of the development story of the main characters Unknown roads profiled as literature for young adults. On the other hand, there are so many interesting levels of the world described in the work and the experiences of the characters that the book fits easily even in the hands of an older reader.

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