Un thriller étrange, flirtant avec le fantastique, mettant en scène une jeune femme, Norma, dotée d'une curieuse capacité de croissance capillaire. Ses magnifiques cheveux blonds, de type "ukrainien", repoussent à une vitesse prodigieuse, une particularité génétique qui a sauté plusieurs générations, et que sa mère va cacher soigneusement, en faisant son gagne-pain. On découvre les dessous de l'industrie du cheveu, florissante en ces temps où tout le monde veut ressembler aux stars du moment. Mais "l'empire capillaire" mis en place aux quatre coins du monde par un certain Lambert, à la tête d'un clan familial aux méthodes plus que douteuses, sert aussi de façade à un trafic de mères porteuses. On entre page après page dans un univers aux confins du réel, décrit avec un réalisme surprenant, en se posant jusqu'à l'ultime page la question : et si tout cela existait bel et bien ? La réponse est non, bien entendu, mais il s'en est fallu… d'un cheveu !
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
3,6 sur 5 étoiles
5,0 sur 5 étoilesA Painful and Beautiful Novel
9 janvier 2018 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Oksanen has traditionally written about Soviet-Estonian life with the eloquence of Dostoevsky or Tolstoy while (properly) demonizing the Soviets. Norma is a unique and interesting change for her that still remains wistful and amazing in her detail. There's no reason to not buy this book if you have enjoyed the rest of her works like I have. It's unique, for sure, but worth your time if you enjoy this author like I do.
Honestly? Finland's greatest author since Linna, hands down. A.H. Tammsaare would be proud, too.
3,0 sur 5 étoilesA somewhat awkward read that was enjoyable but not entirely memorable..
17 février 2018 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Norma was an interesting encounter that occurred during my ongoing efforts to read more translated titles. I cannot say exactly what expectations I had set upon picking it up nor am I certain that they were met. My experience was a complicated one that I am still attempting to sort out.
Norma has a unique attribute. Her hair. It grows at a rapid rate and reacts not only to her own mood, but the mood of those around her. When Norma’s mother suddenly commits suicide, it is this very ability alerts her to the possibility that there is more behind her mother’s death than she has been told. What ensues is a journey to discover the truth and the revelation that perhaps her mother knew more of their shared secret (Norma’s incredible hair) than she told even Norma.
This is a somewhat typical mystery that is heightened by an added dose of magical realism supplied to the reader through Norma’s supernatural hair. Her hair is what defines her, setting her apart from other protagonist. I found this to be a mix of strength and weakness in terms of character development. While this unique feature provides an interesting variant, there was little else here that really made Norma jump off of the page. She was relatable in her grief and isolation, but perhaps not profound. I was comfortable with her, but not astounded. Supporting characters really failed to grow into anything of true interest for myself. They simply co-existed with the story.
The plot does boast some relevant topics that touch on human trafficking and the selling of black market babies that are worth note. However, it all unfolds at a somewhat surreal pace that is hard to describe as rewarding or heavy hitting. Narration is broken down into easily digested chunks that offer a fast read, but also seems to strip away from what I felt could have been a more impactful experience, leaving the reader to question what is really happening at times. The result is awkward and abrupt. I felt engaged but struggled to maintain the connection at times. Perhaps I would have appreciated this more if the author had chosen to place more emphasis on the topics contained within and explored them further. The pacing was ill-timed, dragging on during uneventful moments and skimming through significant revelations. I cannot say how much of my time with Norma was altered due to this being a translated work, but I have found nothing to imply it has not been translated well.
I think many fans of magical realism with an appreciation for the odd and eccentric might enjoy Norma. For myself, it was a mixed bag of emotions that never seemed to fully blossom into something memorable.
Norma has a secret she shares with only one person, her mother. When her mother takes her own life, Norma is devastated. A disturbing encounter at her mother's funeral leads Norma to question whether it was in fact a suicide and motivates her to investigate. Norma's secret, magical hair, serves her well. Her hair heightens her sensitivity to smells, provides her insight into moods and feelings, provides her with the ability to communicate with the dead and to detect lies. When smoked, the hair has narcotic properties as well. Needless to say, a nefarious global syndicate is interested in the source of the mystical hair that it appears Norma's mom was selling. Norma's investigation leads her into an international criminal conspiracy masked by the frivolity of beauty and salons.
While the author has some good points about the exploitation of women, it isn't the cunning feminist manifesto I was expecting. It is bogged down with two many plots and poorly developed characters. The pacing is uneven and the writing is, at times, bad. Not sure how much is attributable to the translation but at times the many plots get convoluted and confusing and any urgency regarding Norma's situation peters out. I don't mind weird or magical realism for that matter but this book is both too much and too little. The ending failed to satisfy and I was left strangely empty.There were some promising ideas that were never came to fruition. In the final analysis this book is as fussy las a pompadour, as silly as a man bun and ultimately as odd and awkward as a mullet.