FILI Book Picks 2024


Sara Al Husaini: A Disobedient Girl

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Huono tyttö, Like 2023

FILI Reads A personal debut novel about a culture that subjugates and silences women and about finding a new path. A young Iraqi woman living in Finland breaks free from her Islamic background and finds out how it feels to be rejected by her own family. Eventually, pressured by her family, she ends up in a forced marriage in Iraq, the beginning of a nightmare in which she has no other role than the passive fulfilment of her husband’s sexual desires and maintaining the home. Sara Al Husaini’s intense narration moves deftly between different timelines and concretely shows not only how women are still treated in the Islamic world, but also how fierce courage can carve out a different path. An earth-shattering, impactful novel that will change your thinking!

Elina Backman: How to Face Death

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Kuinka kuolema kohdataan, Otava 2024


Patricia G. Bertenyi: We’re all blind

Bonner Rights Finland, Kaikki ovat sokeita, Tammi 2024


Joel Haahtela: Marija's Love

Rights & Brands, Marijan rakkaus, Otava 2024


Niko Hallikainen: Big Wet Secret

Rights & Brands, Suuri märkä salaisuus, Otava 2023


Kari Hukkila: One Thousand & One

Helsinki Literary Agency, Tuhat ja yksi, Teos 2016

Joona Keskitalo: The Island Torn Apart

The Outback Series

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Saari joka repesi, Bazar 2024

FILI Reads The Island Torn Apart kicks off The Outback Crime Series set in remote Finnish villages; the first book is set on an island in Korppoo, where ten or so people die in various ways. It all starts when Sigge Boman, the local loser, finds a body in the sea. It turns out to be Jerker, who has just sold his guest marina to Jennifer from the capital city Helsinki, much to the surprise of his family. No one, least of all the Russians who hang around the archipelago, wants Jennifer to start renovating the restaurant's exterior, but she is determined to start a new life and isn't afraid, even as those around her start falling dead. The book is full of delicious characters, and the absence of police and lack of initiative among the residents in the harsh early-winter conditions of the archipelago add to the absurdity.

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.

Tommi Kinnunen: Pine Bark

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Kaarna, WSOY 2024

FILI Reads As Laina nears death, her children, Martti, Eevi and Maija, gather to organise the funeral. As they reminisce about the past, Martti, who has stayed with his mother in the north, recognises a familiar dynamic: his sisters, who moved to the south, are both geographically and emotionally distant from their shared past. Laina’s story carries us back in time, all the way back to her traumatic war experiences: an attack by Russian partisans in the summer of 1944 changed Laina irrevocably. A beautiful but unadorned story about women’s experience of war and how the silence surrounding women’s war trauma has prevented both their own recovery and that of the following generation: how can one shed the hard bark that suppresses remembering and healing? An important and captivating novel that sheds light on a topic that has long been in the shadows.

Kaj Korkea-aho: How We Met Your Mother

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Hur man möter en mamma, Förlaget 2024

FILI Reads Niko and Kaj, a male couple in Helsinki, decide to start a family and start looking for a potential mother for their future child. They post a notice on social media and start dating the candidates. The book is a diary-like, intimate story to be devoured in one sitting: a wise, beautiful and humoristic story about one of life’s most important decisions. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone who is considering starting a family!

Linnea Kuuluvainen: The Thick of the Forest

Helsinki Literary Agency, Metsänpeitto, Gummerus 2024

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

Merja Mäki: Wept Another

Helsinki Literary Agency, Itki toisenkin, Gummerus 2024

FILI Reads Merja Mäki’s novel Wept Another is a sensitive and powerful story about people at turning points in their lives. With her skilful narration and deep characters, Mäki immerses the reader in a touching love story set in wartime occupied Karelia. The main character of the book, Larja, a teacher, encounters her family’s painful past when she returns to her home village, but she also discovers she has a gift for lamenting, which is used to escort the dead to the afterlife and welcome yet unborn children. In the midst of war, life goes on. Merja Mäki has said that writing novels set in wartime is her way of doing peace work.

Tuomas Niskakangas: The Eagle

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Kotka, Otava 2024


Minna Rytisalo: Jenny Hill

Bonnier Rights Finland, Jenny Hill, WSOY 2023

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.

Harry Salmenniemi: Heartmist

Helsinki Literary Agency, Sydänhämärä, Siltala 2024

Niilo Sevänen: The Path of Eternal Winter

Helsinki Literary Agency, Ikitalven polku, Gummerus 2024

FILI Reads In the year 1000, the White Witch destroyed Europe, leaving behind cold and chaos. After seven years of silence, a group of reluctant and disunited heroes sets out on a journey to take a little girl, Halla, to safety. As the story progresses, the girl’s true powers are gradually revealed. Alongside interesting protagonists and plot twists, beasts, dangers and mysticism, there is also humour to be found in this enjoyable fantasy that draws from a wide range of mythologies and traditions. As Helsingin Sanomat newspaper put it: “The Path of Eternal Winter is a strong start to a book series that you would want to devour immediately.”


Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Yksin, Otava 2024

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.

Saara Turunen: Hyena Days

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Hyeenan päivät, Tammi 2024

FILI Reads A woman is about to turn forty and realises she should finally do something about her indefinitely postponed dream of having children and unsuccessful attempts to have a child. So begins an arduous endeavour, in the travel-restricted days of the pandemic and in infertility clinics in Barcelona and Helsinki, as well as a reflection on what motherhood is and could be in relation to being an artist – and above all, on how these two identities might be combined. In her open, personal style, Saara Turunen tells of the harsh realities of life when in the throes of infertility treatments and expectations, and of slowly growing into the role of a mother who trusts her animal instincts. An important story by a master of autofiction for anyone pondering the roles of women, and especially for those for whom having a child has remained a dream. Hyena Days has already been called this popular author’s happiest novel.

Jukka Viikilä: Sandcastles

Rights & Brands, Hiekkalinnat, Otava 2024

FILI Reads Jukka Viikilä’s Sandcastles is like a delightfully lackadaisical French art film. In fragmentary glimpses, it sketches a love relationship that stretches to sadomasochistic proportions between a young female writer and a married male architect twenty years her elder. The author, who has twice won the Finlandia Prize, started his career as a poet, which is apparent in the novel’s poetic philosophical summaries about love, sex, physicality and loyalty – to others, as well as to oneself. Viikilä creates a sensual and wistful world completely his own, with sentences you’ll repeatedly find yourself wanting to stop and savour. The passionate love story suddenly dies down but remains forever in the woman’s mind, and sixty years later, all that remains are memories and a realisation about her life “I spent my life protecting myself”.

Children's & Young Adult Books


Karin Erlandsson & Karoliina Pertamo: Juno Lights the Moon

Helsinki Literary Agency, Juno tänder månen, Schildts &Söderströms 2024

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!

Kaisa Happonen & Anne Vasko: The Woodland Light

Bonnier Rights Finland, Mur ja metsän valo, Tammi 2024


Helena Immonen: Animagi of the Purple Mist 1: The Caracal’s Strength

Bonnier Rights Finland, Purppurausvan Animaagit. Karakalin voima, Tammi 2024


Sanna Isto: The Invisibles

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Näkymättömät, Tammi 2024


Roope Lipasti: Children of the Burning City

Bonnier Rights Finland, Palavan kaupungin lapset, WSOY 2022

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.

Kaisa Paasto & Mari Ahokoivu: Prankenstein

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Prankenstein, Tammi 2024

FILI Reads Elmeri, a fifth grader, unwittingly pulls a prank and ends up a social media star. The prank also gains him the attention of his secret crush, Mima. Elmeri’s cousin Robin begins to coach him in his career as a prankster, which is set to culminate when the president visits Elmeri’s school, where he once worked. An incredibly fun and laugh-out-loud book that also has a lesson (but let’s not advertise it to the reader). The illustrations by Mari Ahokoivu also hit the spot!

Elina Pitkäkangas: Naraka

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Naraka, WSOY 2023


Satu Rämö & Satu Kontinen: The Island Adventures: The Secret of the Grove

Bonnier Rights Finland, Satujen saaret 1: Lottalehto, Tammi 2024


Salja Sillanpää & Pasi Pitkänen: Ouroboros 1. The Rainbow Snake

Bonnier Rights Finland, Ouroboros: Sateenkaarikäärme, WSOY 2024


Salla Simukka & JP Ahonen: The Secret Staircase

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Poika ullakolla, poika kellarissa, Tammi 2024


Arttu Unkari: Dad Man and the Impossible Time Warp

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Isämies ja mahdoton aikasolmu, Otava 2023


Miila Westin: The Mythicals #1 & #2

Helsinki Literary Agency, Loputon talvi, Vaarallinen uni, Schildts & Söderströms



Julia Korkman: Memory Dependent: The Justice Process and the Truth

Helsinki Literary Agency, Minnets makt, Schildts & Söderströms 2022

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.

Sakari Siltala: High Stakes

Helsinki Literary Agency, Korkea peli. Teollisuustitaani Walter Ahlströmin elämä, Siltala 2023


Helena Åhman: Emotional Courage: How to Speak Directly and Meet Resistance

Elina Ahlback Literary Agency, Tunnerohkeus, Otava 2024