Reviews

The Story of My Face

Patty Osborne

The Story of My Face by Kathy Page (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) is about pictures that we don’t want to see or are forbidden to see. The face of Natalie, the main character, was badly scarred in a childhood accident; as an adult she returns to the small town in Finland where she grew up. Many years before the accident took place, the town’s young pastor, Tuomas Envall, had come to believe that all images were profane. His followers lived their lives without paintings, photographs, movies or television. But then young Natalie, a neglected thirteen-year-old, befriended a family who belonged to a church that followed Envall’s teachings. In her ignorance and need, Natalie triggered events that broke up the family and the religious community and left the girl physically and psychologically scarred. Now Natalie has come back to Finland to do research for a paper on Tuomas Envall, and while she is there she confronts the ghosts of her past and ultimately reconciles with her new face— through, of course, a photograph. The Story of My Face is an engrossing read, all wrapped up in an intriguing cover image.

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