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Christian Books & Bibles

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (27 votes)

Released: 2012-08-21

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We Sinners: A Novel by Hanna Pylväinen


This stunning debut novel—drawn from the author's own life experience—tells the moving story of a family of eleven in the American Midwest, bound together and torn apart by their faith

The Rovaniemis and their nine children belong to a deeply traditional church (no drinking, no dancing, no TV) in modern-day Michigan. A normal family in many ways, the Rovaniemis struggle with sibling rivalry, parental expectations, and forming their own unique identities in such a large family. But when two of the children venture from the faith, the family fragments and a haunting question emerges: Do we believe for ourselves, or for each other? Each chapter is told from the distinctive point of view of a different Rovaniemi, drawing a nuanced, kaleidoscopic portrait of this unconventional family. The children who reject the church learn that freedom comes at the almost unbearable price of their close family ties, and those who stay struggle daily with the challenges of resisting the temptations of modern culture. With precision and potent detail, We Sinners follows each character on their journey of doubt, self-knowledge, acceptance, and, ultimately, survival.

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Editorial Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2012: At the center of We Sinners is the Rovaniemi family–two parents and nine children, all adherents of a hyper-conservative Finnish church in the Midwest. Each chapter takes the perspective of a different family member, furthering the tension between the belief that faith should bring family together and the fact that it is tearing the Rovaniemis apart. We Sinners is an impressive debut, a showcase of Hanna Pylväinen's gift for nuanced storytelling and an eye for beautiful, economical prose. But perhaps most impressive is that Pylväinen isn't afraid to take big risks with her first novel; the ending–which diverges greatly from the book's structure–drew a mixed reaction with our editorial staff. But love it or hate it, I found that I kept thinking about We Sinners long after I had set it on my bookshelf. — Kevin Nguyen

Book Details

Author: Hanna Pylväinen Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. Binding: Hardcover Language: English Pages: 208

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