Juha Seppälä: Paholaisen haarukka [The Devil’s fork]

30 December 2008 | Mini reviews

Juha Seppälä: Paholaisen haarukkaPaholaisen haarukka
[The Devil’s fork]
Helsinki: WSOY, 2008. 267 p.
ISBN 978-951-0-34534-4
€ 32, hardback

Seldom does a novel manage to be as topical as Juha Seppälä’s latest – his tenth – which portrays a great economic crisis and the people who are dragged along with it. Seppälä has written lines for his characters where they claim that a novel is only able to depict a reality that existed years ago – but Paholaisen haarukka proves this is not true. The convolutions of economic reality are depicted through the eyes of the narrator, Lari Halme. He is a financial advisor who describes in cynical monologues how he and others like him sell a sense of security to desperate people by means of deceit and manipulation. His sister makes movies which are also not much more than illusion, fraud and moneymaking. The novel, operating on several levels and with many voices, also contains a credible portrayal of a displaced person who commits an act of bloodshed while in the grip of his delusions – this, too, in a spine-chilling way, is an aspect of autumn 2008 in Finland. The book was selected as one of the six runners-up for the Finlandia Literature Prize list.

(First published in Books from Finland 4/2008.)

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