Five-year-old Laura was born in one of Joseph Stalin’s prison camps in Siberia. When the book opens, she and her parents are on their long journey back to Latvia, a country Laura knows only from the exuberant descriptions that whirled about the Gulag. Upon her arrival, however, she must come to terms with the conflicting images of the life she sees around her and the fairytale Latvia she grew up hearing about and imagining. Based on the author’s life, and written in lush language that defies the narrative’s many hardships, Five Fingers tells the story of a girl who moves between worlds in the hopes of finding a Latvia that she can call home.
Māra Zālīte was born in 1952 in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, in a Latvian family deported to Siberia by the Soviet regime. In 1956 her family returned to Latvia. She has won various literary awards, among them the prestigious J. G. Herder Prize (1993) and the Best Novel of 2013 for Five Fingers (Pieci pirksti). Her books have been translated into German, Russian, English, Estonian, Swedish and other languages.