I hardly ever finish a book and think what in the frigging hell has just happened - but I think I can safely say that Purge by Sofi Oksanen falls into that category. I was meant to take this on holiday but ended up swapping it out and truthfully, I'm glad because I'm not sure that this is really a holiday type book and yet - having said that, I've devoured this in two days flat and that's no small feat with a book as intense as this.
Purge follows two women; one young and on the run from an abusive relationship, and one older on the run from a past under the brutal soviet control of Estonia. These women end up together, and the only way they can survive is to tell the truth to each other - whilst realising that this may be a lot more than just sheer coincidence that led to their meeting in a forest in Estonia. Truthfully, I've never read anything quite as brutal as this - quite as shocking and upfront and honest, and I'm not sure how to feel about it.
I will say that this isn't a book for everyone - it's not, at it's essence, a love story - nor is it particularly a thriller. Although filled with suspense, this reads like a memoir and it's easy to forget that the girl in the story, Zara, exists at times - as a lot is centered around Aiida's past, and the story that led us to this point in time. Similarly, if you know absolutely nothing about Soviet oppression or European wars, this probably isn't going to be worth reading - it won't be impossible, but it got my head spinning and my A-Level was in Russian and European history modules.
If you're a history buff, or you know a lot about this period of time - you're going to like this book, but because the plot is so heavily anchored into the history, and how relevant certain points of this history were to these women's lives, it's not really enough to just skim over them and hope that you'll understand the book anyway. It's one I definitely think warrants a second read as I think I'd understand it better, but if history is your jam, you probably will find this one interesting.
If you've read Purge, I'd be genuinely curious to hear your views, it's definitely a book on it's own!