After the publication of The Parson’s Widow, Vartio’s fifth novel, Finnish critics hailed it as a masterpiece, her finest literary achievement. This is the first opportunity for English readers to become acquainted with her unforgettable characters: the eccentric widow of a country parson, her maid Alma, and the other inhabitants of a rural village. Readers will discover the passions that lie beneath the villagers’ reserve and formality, and that from time to time break through the polite surface with devastating results.
The two women at the center of this book are marvelous storytellers, though they often argue bitterly about whose version of events is correct. As they reveal, sometimes with boistrous humor, the painful moments of their relationships with the people in their lives, we begin to see how much the world of this remote Finnish village resembles our own.