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his elderswould soon die and "even though ithad been long since they had protected me from anything, I would be leftalone and exposed to the world, devoid ofhome and love, leftalone to confront all thepeople fullofpain and anger." Michele Levy North CarolinaA&T University Marlon James. The Book of Night Women. New York. Riverhead. 2009. 417 pages. $26.95. isbn 978-1-59448-857-3 Jamaican author Marlon James sets his second novel on a Jamai can sugar plantation early in the nineteenth century. Steeped in vio lence, animosity, and mistrust, the characters in the novel suffer from thedegradations of slavery and the frustrated desire for freedom. The novel's protagonist isLilith, a young woman whose fourteen-year-old mother dies inchildbirth,andwhose firstsignificant act is themurder of another slave who attempts to rape her. Victim of and witness tobrutal punishment, Lilithmurders a white family,but she is reluctant to join the women who meet secretly at night to plan what becomes an unsuccess ful revolt. Lilith's feelings through out the novel remain ambiguous. Angered and numbed by the vio lencemeted out bywhites, she none theless protects her father,a white overseer who raped her mother, and the Irishmanwho has both overseen her whippings and felt something close to love for her. While the events James relates are disturbing and significant, his novel is flawed. His treatment of character is superficial, and his fixation on genitals, "rutting/' and sexualized aggression becomes pre dictable and reductive. There are intriguing but unfulfilled aspects of the novel. James doesn't capital ize on the significance of the liter ary texts Lilith learns to read. He gives slaves ancient Greek names but doesn't develop this themati cally. Unlike several other Carib bean writers, his patois isplodding and unimaginative: "Sometimes in the early morning she see Robert Quinn. Sometimes RobertQuinn see her before she see him." And James repeatedly substitutes silence, long looks,and hisses for meaningful dia logue or narration. "Lilith don't say nothing. He look at her for a long time." Sentences like these occur throughout the novel and suggest a lack of imagination. During the slave rebellion, "Lilith look at the great house and thinkofMiss Iso bel." Butwhat does she think?Feel ing guilty because she killed Miss Isobel's family,does Lilith hope Iso bel has escaped or been tortured as retribution for her own brutal treatmentof slaves? We never find out. The narrator describes Lilith as "wanting tobe everythingand noth ing." Such ambivalence isultimately a deficit. Jim Hannan LeMoyne College Katja Kallio.Syntikirja.Helsinki. Otava. 2009. 303 pages. 30.50. isbn978-951 1-23854-6 Katja Kallio has published novels, a collection of stories, a book about filmsand television series, authored film scripts, and translated litera ture fromEnglish and Spanish into Finnish. Syntikirja(The book of sins) exemplifies a welcome trend in cur rent Finnish literature, the aim of which is to extend literature's reach beyond itscultural and domestically familiar borders. Rather than being centered inwhat is customary and emphatically familiar, Kallio expects her readers to keep pace with the Marlon James //fr BOOK ^NIGHT WOMEN novel's many variances in such areas hHH as narrative structure,cultural familSflfl iarity, and thematic twists and turns. To begin, Syntikirjaturnsout not to be real in any material sense but H^l a book thatSofia, daughter of TuuH ^H likki,whose consciousness inhabits certainly the firstpart of the novel, fl^H "writes" in her mind rather than on paper, the composition ofwhich is i^^H based on "everything she did wrong, ormatters inwhich she perceived to have failed."At thatpoint, thereader might be aware of the name Sofia as a derivative of Sophia, a mythi cal personification ofGod's wisdom,|^^| to cite one interpretation, and the reader is led toponder the reliability j^^B of thenarrator.At thevery least, few things turnout tobewhat theyseem H^h atfirst. flj^fl Structurally, the novel opens 9H with Henri, Tuulikki's husband of I^Hh thirty-fiveyears, leaving her with 1H| no explanation. Yet Kallio maintains l^^l elements of suspense while revers ing the traditional order of cause and effect.Although Henri has, in fact, moved inwith anotherwoman, H^h Tuulikki abandons themere...

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