Master your Minecraft

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    What I'm Giving | December 2, 2014

    Cary Elwes: IMG Cary Elwes: What I'm Giving

    At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached... Continue »

Qualifying orders ship free.
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
5 Remote Warehouse Literature- Contemporary Women
1 Remote Warehouse Literature- A to Z

More copies of this ISBN



True Cover

ISBN13: 9781590515006
ISBN10: 1590515005
All Product Details




Grandma doesn’t know Anna’s thoughts. Suddenly, without warning,

she says:

   “I’ve been thinking about you. What’s going on in your life? Or

what was going on, last year, the year before? We didn’t see each other

much. But your mother was worried.” 

   Anna turns her head. It’s easy to turn her head and look at the apple

blossoms, the climbing rose on the side of the house. Soon it, too, will push out buds and everything will start at the beginning again.

Grandma doesn’t give up.

“What exactly happened? What was going on?” Anna reaches for the cheese too quickly. The knife falls to the ground with a clink.

   She’s spilled wine on the dress. One drop of wine dribbles between her thumb and forefinger as if it knows the way. The stain begins to spread over the dress. If she doesn’t put salt on it quickly it will never come out. It will never leave, no matter how much you wash it. It’s already growing.

   “There was something going on for years, wasn’t there?” Grandma asks.

   “Now I’ve ruined this dress,” Anna says, upset.

   She’s still holding her glass. The glass shakes. Grandma is looking closely at her.

   “What of it?” she says. “So what? It’s just a dress.”

   “But it’s yours, and I’ve gone and ruined it. Do you have any salt?

Should I get some from upstairs?”

   Grandma is thoughtful, as if she were looking right through her.

She opens her mouth to say something, closes it again, doesn’t look

away when she finally makes up her mind to say what she’s thinking.

   “Actually, it’s not mine.”

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Rebecca Young, October 6, 2012 (view all comments by Rebecca Young)
I heard Riikka Pulkkinen herself read from this book and was blown away by the power of her prose. Just one example, "He was the kind of man you want to ask for directions to reality." The translation is very strong and does a good job of representing the author's writing in her native Finnish. I highly recommend it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Sari, July 13, 2012 (view all comments by Sari)
When Elsa is diagnosed with cancer, her family wonders how they will survive without her--the smart, generous, ambitious mother/wife/grandmother who once danced on a table for her birthday. As the family contents with the inevitable tragedy, granddaughter Anna discovers another more shocking loss and betrayal. She puts on what she thinks is her grandmother's dress and instead finds out it belongs to Eeve, the nanny nobody talks about.

This beautiful novel is told from alternating points of view and is written with tremendous generosity. Even as characters are making bad choices, we care about them. The prose lingers, but is never slow. This novel stayed in my mind long after I read it and I have been recommending it to everyone.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

Pulkkinen, Riikka
Other Press (NY)
Rogers, Lola M.
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
8.25 x 5.53 x 1.08 in 0.9 lb

Other books you might like

  1. Amos & Boris
    Used Trade Paper $4.95
  2. The Death of the Adversary
    Used Trade Paper $2.95
  3. The Taste of Salt Used Trade Paper $5.50
  4. Mudbound: A Novel
    Used Hardcover $3.50
  5. Travels in the Scriptorium
    Sale Hardcover $4.98
  6. Memory
    Used Hardcover $3.50

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Coming of Age
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Contemporary Women

True Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Other Press (NY) - English 9781590515006 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In Pulkkinen's second novel, her first to be translated into English, the Finnish author tells the story of Elsa, a well-known child psychologist; her husband, Martti, a painter; their doctor daughter Elenoora; and Anna and Maria, their 20-something granddaughters. All have assembled around Elsa as she succumbs to cancer. Anna and her grandmother have always been kindred spirits, often playing dress up and picnicking in the park, and it's Anna's choice of outfit for one of these outings that opens a window into a forgotten chapter of Martti and Elsa's past. The frock that Anna plucks from the closet belongs not to Elsa but to Eeva, Elenoora's former nanny, with whom Martti had an ongoing affair during Elsa's scholarly trips. While Anna obsesses over her grandparents' past, seeing in it an alternate life that she so longs for, having to face her father's betrayal makes Elenoora question everything. Pulkkinen has a fine eye for description and infuses her characters with longing, but the story is familiar: desire for a different life than the one we've chosen. An eloquent family saga that falls short of revelation. Agent: Hanna Kjelberg, Otava Group Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "A beautiful, sensuous novel."
"Review" by , "Pulkkinen spins variations of [the] theme of transformative identity, having characters periodically relate to one another as if they were improv artists."
"Review" by , "Secrets, long hidden, are revealed through alternating voices from her family's present and past in this poignant work of fiction."
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at