Annika Luther: De hemlösas stad [The city of the homeless]

17 January 2012 | Mini reviews, Reviews

De hemlösas stad
[The city of the homeless]
Helsingfors: Söderströms, 2011. 237 p.
ISBN 978-951-522-846-8
€ 21.10, paperback
Kodittomien kaupunki
Suomennos [Translation from Swedish into Finnish]: Asko Sahlberg
Helsinki: Teos, 2011. 240 p.
ISBN 978-951-851-404-9
€ 33.10, paperback

Annika Luther’s novel is an example of the popular genre of dystopia. Its ecocritical overtones prompt radically new ways of thinking about the effects of climate change. In 2050, the bulk of the earth’s surface is under water, and people from various corners of the earth have been evacuated to Finland. The majority of the residents in Helsinki are Indian and Chinese. Finns are in the minority, and most of them are hopelessly addicted to alcohol. Fifteen-year-old Lilja lives in the city of Jyväskylä with her family, in a protected and tightly controlled neighbourhood. She becomes interested in her family history and decides to find out about her aunt, a marine biologist who remained in flooded Helsinki. Gradually, the mysteries of the past open up to her. The novel is about survival and adaptation. Luther is an original writer, uncompromising in her ethical stance. As in her previous novel, Ivoria (2009), she describes Helsinki with affection: despite the ruined landscape, the city maintains its proud bearing.
Translated by Fleur Jeremiah and Emily Jeremiah


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