Archive for January, 2012

Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen: Valoa valoa valoa [Light light light]

13 January 2012 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Valoa valoa valoaValoa valoa valoa
[Light light light]
Hämeenlinna: Karisto, 2011. 125 p.
ISBN 978-951-23-5433-7
€ 19.95, paperback

Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen’s novel for young adults demonstrates the author’s familiarity with classic books for girls, her skill in plotting, and, above all, her respect for youth on its own, unique terms. The novel is set in the summer and autumn of 1986. A nuclear explosion occurs at Chernobyl, Ukraine, in spring, and the fall-out worries 14-year old Mariia, who lives on the outskirts of Turku. She befriends Mimi, who has a dark secret in the attic. The friendship between the two girls soon deepens into love, and is described by Huotarinen (born 1977) beautifully and openly. Huotarinen’s language is colloquial, but nevertheless highly lyrical. Valoa valoa valoa promises a revival in the Finnish novel for young adults; it does not wallow in youthful angst or ‘issues’, although the story touches on these things, too. Self-conscious narration, metafiction, adds another intriguing twist to the story.
Translated by Fleur Jeremiah and Emily Jeremiah


Christmas best-sellers in Finnish fiction

13 January 2012 | In the news

Rosa Liksom. Photo: Pekka Mustonen

Most new Finnish books are printed and sold in the autumn, and sales pick up considerably in December. The number one on the December list link: in Finnish only) of best-selling fiction titles in Finland, compiled by the Finnish Booksellers’ Association, is the Finlandia Fiction Prize-winning novel Hytti nro 6 (‘Compartment number 6’, WSOY, 2011) by Rosa Liksom (this is her homepage, also in English).

The Finlandia winner was announced on 1 December, upon which the book shot – from nowhere – to the top of the list.

Laila Hirvisaari’s historical novel, Minä Katariina (‘I, Catherine’, Otava), climbed up from the third place to the second. Number three was a newcomer, a tragic love story entitled Kätilö (‘The midwife’, WSOY), by Katja Kettu, set in the last phase of the Finnish Continuation War (1941–1944).

Jari Tervo’s Layla (WSOY) was in fourth place, while November’s number one,  Ilkka Remes’s thriller Teräsleijona (‘Steel lion’, WSOY), came fifth.

In November Tuomas Kyrö occupied both the fourth and the tenth place with his novels Kerjäläinen ja jänis (‘The beggar and the hare’, Siltala – a pastiche-style story inspired by Jäniksen vuosi / The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna, 1975) and  Mielensäpahoittaja (‘Taking offence’, WSOY, 2010). In December they were numbers six and seven, in reverse order.