Seita Vuorela: Karikko [The reef]

24 January 2013 | Mini reviews, Reviews

[The reef]
Kuvitus [Ill. by]: Jani Ikonen
Helsinki: WSOY, 2012. 357 pp., ill.
ISBN 978-951-0-38640-8
€28.90,  hardback

Karikko is a self-assured work, aware of its odd charm. It is intended for readers who prefer not to have pre-digested material fed to them; this book has been classified as both a young adult and adult book. Vuorela (née Parkkola) is excellent proof that the global boom in fantasy literature can be harnessed in support of an author’s own artistic ambitions to reinvigorate the genre. She has also crossed a difficult barrier by making it into the American publishing market. Karikko delves into feelings of decay, devastation and abandonment. The text is redolent with the smells of seaweed and mildew; there are textures pockmarked with rust and the melancholy of abandoned homes. At the centre of Karikko is a family with mismatched siblings – 14-year-old Mitja and his elder brother Waldemar – as well as abandonment, sorrow and guilt. Seita Vuorela structures her plot as a mosaic with flashbacks, foreshadowing and random bits. This technique is quite challenging for the reader but ultimately rewarding.
Translated by Ruth Urbom