Finnish fiction

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Children of the Cave by Virve Sammalkorpi (transl. Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah): What’s real and what’s not.

Peirene Press’s books are never anything but interesting. It’s founder and publisher, Meike Ziervogel, has a knack for seeking out unusual, thought-provoking fiction. For 2019 her theme is There Be Monsters. Virve Sammalkorpi’s Children of the Cave follows a nineteenth-century anthropological expedition which goes horribly wrong, posing the question who are the monsters? Iax Agolasky, …

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The Summer House by Philip Teir (transl. Tiina Nunnally): A smart piece of summer reading

I reviewed Philip Teir’s debut, A Winter War, back in 2015 when I described it as the perfect winter read, a book to tuck yourself up with. It may seem a little lazy but it’s hard to resist describing The Summer House as the perfect summer read. Set against a backdrop of a long holiday …

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They Know Not What They Do by Jussi Valtonen (transl. Kristian London): Contemporary dystopia

The last Finnish novel I read was Philip Teir’s The Winter War, a witty, engrossing novel about love, marriage and divorce. Jussi Valtonen’s They Know Not What They Do encompasses much more than that but it begins with the marriage between Joe, an American neuroscientist, and Alina, the Finnish woman he meets at a conference …

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Letters from Klara by Tove Jansson (transl. Thomas Teal): Short stories to delight in

I have to confess that these are the first short stories I’ve read by Tove Jansson although I’ve very much enjoyed her novellas, given a new lease of lease of life by the lovely Sort of Books. I’ve harboured a fondness for them since their publicist sent me a copy of The Moomins and the …

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The Winter War by Philip Teir (transl. Tiina Nunnally): Love, life and divorce in Helsinki

I’m not sure how helpful most readers find comparisons to other authors in publishers’ blurbs. For me, they can often be irksome and some times downright inappropriate. Philip Teir’s debut comes with all sorts of comparisons – from Jonathan Franzen to John Updike; Julian Barnes to Alan Hollinghurst. It turns out to be an excellent …

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