Alexandra Salmela: 27 eli kuolema tekee taiteilijan [27, or death makes the artist]

13 January 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

27 eli kuolema tekee taiteilijan
[27, or death makes the artist]
Helsinki: Teos, 312 p.
ISBN 978-951-851-302-8
€ 25.90, hardback

Alexandra Salmela (born 1980) is a Slovakian-born dramaturge and literature graduate who has settled in Finland. The book’s main character, Angie, lives in Prague and suffers from an idée fixe: all her idols, such as Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin, died, already famous, before their 28th birthdays, but her own literary career has yet to take wing. The frustrated Angie’s literature lecturer has a lake cottage in Finland where Angie meets an eco-minded family in the middle of the sparsely populated Finnish countryside. The clash between the chaotic family life and Angie’s wannabee artistic temperament are skilfully handled by Salmela, who has a secure grasp of literary means and a playful use of the Finnish language. Among the narrative voices employed by Salmela are the family’s cat and a piggy toy. Situational comedy, farce and a tragic Entführungsroman combine in the narratives, and the result is a malicious, funny work that pokes fun at everyone. The novel was awarded the Helsigin Sanomat newspaper’s prize for the best first novel, and appeared on the shortlist for the Finlandia Prize for Literature.

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