Here’s a quote from renowned author Riikka Pulkkinen’s new novel, called “Lumo” or “The Enchantment”:
“I am anything at all, I am the world. I am the girl of girls, I am everything you can imagine and that which you will not speak aloud.”
At the center of this story there is a 17-year-old girl, who is no stranger to all kinds of different roles. Disturbingly, the book begins with another girl named Philippa being found dead in her own garden.
The protagonist approaches the core of the narrative through the experiences of Philippa’s mother, best friend Saga, ex-boyfriend Oliver, Alex the 80-year-old neighbor, a busy mother named Alina, and a bunch of guys looking for dates. Videos from Philippa’s phone and the coroner’s autopsy report shed more light on the fragmented picture.
As the dead girl’s life starts to come into focus, it becomes clear that in life she was able to be both pleasant and manipulative, wise yet cruel, a Lolita figure as well as a playful person. The novel doesn’t offer any clear, singular picture of Philippa.
The primary theme of the book concerns the image that we each project as people, and the way it changes from one perspective and era to the next.
“The Enchantment” is also a deep dive into what it means to live as a girl, and a window into the vulnerabilities, breaking points, and forms of growth that people of all ages go through.
This is Pulkkinen’s seventh novel, and it’s a master class in the art of storytelling.
Original title: Lumo. Otava 2022, 382 pp.
Foreign rights: Elina Ahlbäck Literary Agency, ahlbackagency.com