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Baby Jane (2005)

Baby Jane is a candid triangle drama in which an awkward and incredibly tender love story plays out in the shadow of Piki’s illness, severe panic disorder.

← Back to Baby Jane


  • We are talking about world class literature.
    — Klassekampen (Norway)
  • Bold and confrontational… The hopeless love story the novel portrays resounds beautiful, raw and infinitely sad.
    — Aftenposten (Norway)
  • We are carried away from the first page. With utterly credible insight her powerful, unique, uncompromising voice, completely free from sentimentality, but with a rapid, precise sensitivity that will not surrender before it reaches your innermost… ‘Baby Jane’ is a strong, energetic, upsetting and intense tenderly told novel. Swiftly read, long remaining. In the heart.
    — Vårt Land (Norway)
  • The love story between the two women is dark and romantic, but mostly tragic. In a language characterized by drive that does not fail to surprise, the pace is high, eventually in the wrong direction… The highlights are frequent, and the sad story is filled with poetry and gallows humor.
    — Moss Avis (Norway)
  • Sofi Oksanens third novel in Norwegian depicts life on the edge in all its dark magnificence. She writes sharply and convincingly about catatonic states of mind and anxiety attacks … a wonderful dramatic plot structure, Oksanen fully masters the art of composition, and the book ends with a bang… a fabulous sad love story … if one endures to dive into this well of anxiety, depression and jealousy one will feel a little bit wiser, and the world will also seem a bit brighter when one pops up again.
    — Dagbladet (Norway)
  • Both the narrator and Piki are medicated for depression. Although they have the same diagnosis and take the same medication, the depression is expressed in completely different ways for them. This is portrayed in a convincing and insightful manner. The reader is brought gently but firmly from level to level in the depiction of despair and pain … there is nothing cheap in Sofi Oksanen’s rendering.
    — Dagens Næringsliv (Norway)
  • A highly original, heartbreaking, believable love story about a lesbian relationship, serious mental illness and how it was to run a mail order company for used women's underwear in Finland in the 1990s. With equal doses of tenderness and humor the Finnish-Estonian award winner Oksanen shows what happens when people fall outside the system and how difficult it is to get mental health care when one belongs to a sexual minority.
    — Dagsavisen (Norway)
  • Sofi Oksanen’s new novel in Danish is funny, lyrically beautiful and terrible in its depiction of a lesbian couple, living ‘down and out’ in Helsinki.
    — Information (Denmark)
  • Oksanen, born in 1977, deserves her reputation as one of the major voices in young Nordic literature … even better than Purge.
    — Information (Denmark)
  • ‘Baby Jane’ is certainly an erotic thriller with both female violence and wet sheets. But it is also further evidence of Sofi Oksanen’s original way of writing her time and her sex into a larger, critical context.
    — Politiken (Denmark)
  • A love affair drowns in anxiety, self-destructiveness and dependence in Sofi Oksanen’s intense and delicate tale.
    — Jyllands-Posten (Denmark)
  • Heartbreaking…humorous story, that aptly describes the development of a love affair and at the same time has some sharp observations about gender and gender roles.
    — Jyllands-Posten (Denmark)
  • Sofi Oksanen has with ‘Baby Jane’ written a deeply fascinating triangle drama … this novel is masterful.
    — Bogmarkedet (Denmark)
  • ’Baby Jane’ is an excellent novel. Sofi Oksanen tells her story so amazingly well, that one turns page after page until the book is over. On the way, one smiles and laughs, gets excited, gets caught up and at times it is hard to keep the tears away. Sofi Oksanen’s story is gripping, and the way she tells her story contains a lyrical vein that is particularly effective since the story actually is quite raw and unsentimental.
    — Fredericia Dagblad (Denmark)
  • Oksanen’s sober and yet emotion-inducing language works perfectly in the description of the ordinariness of dysfunctionality.
    — Kulturkapellet (Denmark)
  • Oksanen describes anxiety and love with a convincing ease.
    — VG (Norway)
  • An excellent novel… [A] powerful, frightening and significant book.
    — Berlingske Tidende (Denmark)
  • Convincing, urgent and emphatic.
    — Kristelig Dagblad (Denmark)
  • Deeply fascinating triangle drama … this novel is masterful.
    — Bokmarkedet (Denmark)
  • Sofi Oksanen describes anxiety and love with a convincing ease… Oksanen conveys a physical sensitivity and authenticity that is easy to absorb, when dealing with jealousy, mental illness and tragic love. She does it with dramatic realism and painful insight.
    — VG (Norway)
  • ’Baby Jane’ by Sofi Oksanen is so good. There is a superb drive in the text. The language is intimate and direct: The thing about ‘show don’t tell’ is something Oksanen fully masters…we are talking about world class literature… There will probably not be many better novels published in Norwegian during 2011.
    — Klassekampen (Norway)
  • Raw reality in delicate prose. Oksanen’s novel ‘Baby Jane’ from 2005 is yet another confirmation of the author’s unique ability to connect delicate prose with brutal revelations of human exposure and vulnerability … ‘Baby Jane’ is a remarkable piece of literature about mental illness. Without a gram of sentimentality she illustrates loneliness, isolation and desperation.
    — Dagsavisen (Norway)
  • An unsentimental story about mental illness and life on the edge. Oksanen’s language is very direct, poetic and in this case erotic… The story jumps back and forth in time and we do not know the entire plot until the end. That gives the book a suspenseful composition.
    — Opplan Arbeiderblad (Norway)
  • Raw reality in delicate prose. Oksanen’s novel ‘Baby Jane’ from 2005 is yet another confirmation of the author’s unique ability to connect delicate prose with brutal revelations of human exposure and vulnerability … ‘Baby Jane’ is a remarkable piece of literature about mental illness. Without a gram of sentimentality she illustrates loneliness, isolation and desperation.”
    — Dagsavisen (Norway)
  • Baby Jane is a modern tragedy. Sofi Oksanen deserves all the attention she has received… That the entire authorship is now available in Norwegian is a delight… Oksanen has a distinct style. She is captivated by subtle nuances, like variations in a voice or a smell… ‘Baby Jane’ is a powerful love story, but also a book about anxiety, betrayal, desperation, humiliation, jealousy and shame… It is the interest in women's experiences, and the ability to charge the smallest details in unusual ways, that forms the originality of the authorship.
    — Morgenbladet (Norway)
  • Super cool and sad… Oksanen shows the contrast between exuberance and death wish in a way that can almost be felt physically, through a language that is filled with body and breath and voice.
    — NRK (Norway)
  • The book is a furious examination of the off-hand Prozac prescriptions, where pills are seen as an easy way of shoving away psychiatric as well as societal disturbances. At the same time, it is a heartbroken portrayal of how the ones closest to you may hurt rather than help through their concerns. /…/ Oksanen’s prose is effective and flammable. The ending might feel excessively spectacular, but one can accept it in such a bloodily passionate and brutally confronting novel, which tears up infected questions without clinical pardon.
    — Norrköpings Tidningar (Sweden)
  • Her use of words and sentence structures are fantastic and [Sofi Oksanen’s] skillfulness makes me shiver. /…/ Baby Jane is a book you can’t put down, it’s wonderful…
    — Tidningen Kuriren (Sweden)
  • Like Stalin's Cows, Baby Jane is a well-written and well-composed whole. /…/ A solidly crafted novel with a contagious drive that urges the reader forward. The novel deals with themes that, even if they are not taboo – what is in today’s reality? – are seldom discussed in the way that this novel discusses them; without exclamation points, subtly and therefore also compellingly.
    — Lapin Kansa (Finland)
  • An accessible read that makes it possible also for the reader who is a stranger to the world depicted in the novel, to step into it. Oksanen’s style bristles with life, and the text is authentic.
    — Etelä-Suomen Sanomat (Finland)