FILI Book Picks 2024


Fiction

Katja Kettu : The Investigations of A Certain Cat

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Erään kissan tutkimuksia, Otava 2023

FILI Reads A mysterious detective, a cat, drops into the author's life from the heavens at the darkest moment of her life: she has lost the child she was expecting – again – and with it everything, her ability to write. With no light in the future, the author begins to look to the past for a solution, by peering into the life of her great-grandmother Eeva during the turbulent years of the country's independence. A magnificent, captivating novel about life's greatest dreams, which you are forced to learn to replace with new ones, again and again. The Investigations of A Certain Cat also shows that words have power, that stories can create justice and new truths in the world.

Sirpa Kähkönen: 36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, 36 uurnaa. Väärässä olemisen historia, Siltala 2023

FILI Reads Kähkönen’s strongly autobiographical novel is beautiful and moving. It is a direct, unadorned speech from a daughter to a dead mother. After her mother’s death, the daughter discovers that their small family grave plot can hold thirty-six urns. So the daughter supplies her mother with thirty-six grave offerings – objects and stories – through which she makes an inventory of her mother’s life and youth as well as of transgenerational traumas, including her own childhood in the shadow of a violent and unpredictable mother. The most important thing, however, is the desire to understand – and loving memories.

Laura Lindstedt & Sinikka Vuola: 101 Ways to Kill Your Husband

Helsinki Literary Agency, 101 tapaa tappaa aviomies, Siltala 2022

Guest Read Laura Lindstedt's and Sinikka Vuola's 101 Ways to Kill Your Husband is a stunning novel in its own right. The text is playful and funny, and it is a very “literary” book. It presents 101 variations of the same theme which makes it fit very well with French literature, and with the Oulipo group in particular. Oulipo is a group of experimental authors, who seek to construct stories by using various constrained writing techniques, and writing within those rules. It is a very productive method! – Claire Saint-Germain

Pirkko Saisio: The Helsinki Trilogy

Helsinki Literary Agency, Pienin yhteinen jaettava (1998), Vastavalo (2000), Punainen erokirja (2003), WSOY

FILI Reads Pirkko Saisio’s autofictional trilogy carries the reader through the childhood, adolescence and adulthood of a girl who wanted to be a boy and started calling herself “her” when she was eight years of age. The strong themes of the trilogy – the relationship between an individual and the society, sexuality and being queer, and finding your voice – are told in a fragmentary, lyrical style, descriptive of Saisio. As the background, there is Helsinki, changing as the decades go by. Saisio is a seven-time Finlandia Prize nominee. Each of the three novels was nominated for the prize, The Red Letter of Farewells finally gaining it.

Iida Turpeinen: Beasts of the Sea

Helsinki Literary Agency, Elolliset, S&S 2023

FILI Reads In the eighteenth century, German naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller sails to the edge of the New World on Vitus Bering’s expedition. After being shipwrecked on an island, the expedition discovers a mythical sea cow. In the nineteenth century, Hampus Furuhjelm, serving as governor of Alaska, a Russian territory, sends the skeleton of a Steller’s sea cow to the professor of zoology at the Imperial Alexander University in Helsinki, as had been promised. The huge skeleton ends up in a museum and is dismantled and reassembled in the 1950s. This debut novel skilfully combines natural science and fiction over a span of three centuries, describing the destruction caused by humans in the name of progress and civilization: the Steller’s sea cow was hunted to extinction only a few decades after its discovery. Iida Turpeinen’s debut is also a complete masterpiece in terms of language and story, which she uses to masterfully intertwine the thought-worlds and characters of each era.


Children's & Young Adult Books

Lena Frölander-Ulf: Rafsa Wildfur

The Fight for Stonefield Trilogy

Rights & Brands, Rafsa Vildpäls, Förlaget 2023

FILI Reads Rafsa Wildfur is a top-notch adventure story. The brave and headstrong marmot Rafsa, her best friend, the slightly more cautious and thoughtful Kotten, and the snake Ziczac, who escaped from the enemy camp and no longer wants to live the ruthless life of a snake, go on a life-and-death journey together. Their objective is nothing less than saving their world!

Marika Maijala: The Magic Flower

Rights & Brands, Taikurinkukka, Etana Editions 2022

FILI Reads When opening the cover of Marika Maijala’s latest picture book, The Magic Flower, you enter a world that is full of familiar details, and at the same time feels entirely new. Gently in their own pace the characters reveal themselves. Who is the main character in this book actually: Aspen, who is curious and optimistic, Spruce, who is up to explore new things and proud of the sacred friendship with Aspen, Eulalia the chicken, who happens to discover a small plant in the corner of the greenhouse or Raisin, the plant itself, who goes through a huge transformation with the smallest visible signs to the outside? “I made a conscious decision to place even the chicken in a main role”, Marika says. The Magician’s Flower is a beautiful sample of her multi-talent as as both author and illustrator.


Non-Fiction

Sofi Oksanen: Same River Twice - Putin's War Against Women

Salomonsson Agency, Samaan virtaan – Putinin sota naisia vastaan, Like 2023

Reeta Ranta: Timeless Nordic Rituals: Bringing Purpose and Joy to Modern Life

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Rituaalikirja — Etsijän opas, SKS Kirjat 2023

FILI Reads Ancient cultures and indigenous peoples understood the power of nature and its influence on our lives. Songs, poems and spells have helped us transition from one stage of life to another. This book of rituals invites you to revive forgotten traditions and start new ones. The book includes themes focusing on different seasons, various times of the day, and different stages of human life, inviting you to create your own rituals to strengthen your connection with nature and your inner self.