Flyaway Friday: Books that will take you to Finland

Why do you read? Are you trying to escape your world? Trying to visit a new place? Live new lives? We might have different reasons, but it is true that books take us to places where we have never been and where we want to be. Armchair travel is the best. And that is exactly what we do in our Flyaway Friday series. If you are not up to date with our travel schedule, you might want to take a look at our introductory post to the trip to Finland.

Have you got your bags packed with warm clothes? We are ready to visit the Finnish land through a handpicked collection of books set in Finland and / or by Finnish authors. So what are we waiting for let us get on with it.

1) New Finnish Grammar By Diego Marani

During the turmoil of World War II a wounded soldier with no memory or language is found near the dock Trieste, Italy. A German ship’s doctor provides him not only medical assistance but also finds the name tag ‘Sampo Karjalainen’ on him and recognizes it as of Finnish origin.

The doctor himself is from Finland takes it upon him to teach the soldier his language and helps him find who he is. When ‘Sampo’ reaches his country Finland he tries to find his lost identity once again. Did Sampo gain his memory and was he Finnish at all forms the rest of the thriller.

This book originally written in Italian has won three literary awards in Italy and took theworld by storm when it was translated into English in 2011.

What you can expect:

Learn about the Fins as Sampo does. Will make you wonder how much a man’s identity depends on his society, rather than him, as a person.

2) Troll: A Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo

The troll is a fantasy novel that is based on the Finnish folkore about troll. Mikael a gay photographer, nicknamed Angel meets a wounded troll behind the bushes takes him in on a whim. What Angel doesn’t recognize immediately is its aphrodisiac powers that the troll has over him and the people who came near them. Be prepared for the unexpected twist at the end.

What you can expect:

A short fantasy novel based on Finnish folklore that fits your LGBT card on the Reading Bingo.

3) The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo

Johanna Sinisalo is one of the bestselling as well as an awarding author that I can’t help but add another book of hers in the list. Set in the future where a sub species of docile and submissive women (called eloi) has been produced mainly for procreation and sex (like the Handmaid’s tale) and the defective set of women, ie the independent and intelligent women are assigned to do menial work.

When Vanna, an eloi who is secretly intelligent, realizes that she needs money to find her missing sister, she starts smuggling ‘Core of the sun’ a chilli pepper that the Health Authorities have banned as they are considered extremely dangerous. Will Vann find her sister or her addiction to ‘Core of the Sun’ prove more dangerous?

What you can expect:

This dystopian novel is to be added on your feminism shelf right away. Also will make you wonder about ‘Finnish weirdness’.

4) Seven Brothers by Aleksis Kivi

Considered as the national writer Aleksis Kivi, wrote out just one novel and it took him ten years – result The Seven Brothers. Set in the past when the seven Jukola brothers lived in the rural farm depending on agriculture and hunting.

The brothers are a rowdy lot and usually found bickering among themselves over binge drinking when they are not struggling to be self sufficient and be accepted by their society.

What you can expect:

While the Seven brothers is hilarious it is definitely not your average beach read. It is considered literature for a reason but it will make it worthwhile in learning about Finland and the Finns.

5) The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna

Published in 1975 The Year of the Hare is a fable about series of accidents and a midlife crisis (to put it in plain). Kaarlo Vatanen, a journalist, and his photographer colleague meet with an accident and injure a hare. Vatanen wanders into the wood chasing the injured hare and returns a new man with the hare. He decides to walk off into the oblivion leaving behind his job, his wife, and his life.

What follows is an episodic tale of his adventure and outdoorsy life which he shares with the silent hare.

What you can expect:

Read about Finnish country life and the beautiful landscapes.

6) As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka

Finally a Young Adult fiction on the list. I can breath now.

Lumikki Andersson, a loner art student finds thousands of Euros washed and hung to dry in her school’s dark room. And three of her friends’ hands are covered in blood literally (hence the title). The bad guys want the money back and it is upto Lumikki and her classmates to try and make it out alive off this mess.

What you can expect:

A YA mystery trilogy set in Finland. That is pretty much it.

7) The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson

Noted as the creator of the Moomintroll fantasy novel series, Tove Jansson was one of the best selling writer and artist. The true deceiver is a thriller fleshing out the passionate battle between Anna, a gentle illustrator for comics and Katri who is a social outcast who cares only about her shy and slow brother. Determined to provide for her brother and to secure a fishing boat for him, she slowly takes over Anna an her life, only to find nothing is just simple as it seems.

What you can expect:

Prepare to be taken aback by her amazing prose and the darkness of human mind.

I hope these books from Finland and about Fins will keep you busy until my post where one of the Finnish blogger will be making a guest post. I can’t be more excited than I am to post already.

Have you read any of these books? Or do you have any other Finnish literature or beach read you wanna suggest? Which of these books interests you? Have you visited Finland? Let me know. Let’s talk more.


25 responses to “Flyaway Friday: Books that will take you to Finland”

  1. I just LOVE these posts Gayathri! As Red as Blood and The True Deceiver sound very intriguing… Especially ARAB! I’ve read one YA book set in Finland (pretty sure it wasn’t Sweden!) and it was a sci-fi, lol. It’s a fascinating place <3

  2. If I’ve read any Finnish authors, I can’t name them off the top of my head. But I would deff read Troll. (I am a SF/F so no surprise there). But I also really like The True Deciever. The plot sounds good, but I’m a sucker for authors who have amazing prose. My envy levels just go through the roof! D

  3. Wow! Such a diverse post to read. I don’t remember reading such an article which suggests its readers of books set in a particular setup. This gives me inspiration to read more and write a whole series on different setups! Thank you Gayathri, reading your blogs always gives me inspiration as a blogger. 💝💝💝

  4. I’m a bad Finn and actually haven’t read or even heard about many of these aside for the obvious Aleksis Kivi and Tove Jansson stuff 😂 I actually got an English copy of As Red As Blood from Lauren really recently though so gonna be interesting to see what that’s like!

    • I have been reading so much about Finland and Finns in the past month that I might have to move to Finland to calm me down!

    • I found quite a list of amazing books that have been translated from Finnish. I think I can make another list even. Finland is rich with thrillers I gather.

      • Oh yeah (too bad I don’t really read those much xD)… But Finland does seem to have a lot of writing talent. It’s kind of a big region, I guess 🙂 maybe all that snow is inspiring to delve deeper and write literary 😀

        • And they are good with their thrillers I heard from another group, but I have not read any of them personally.

          P.S For some unkown reason this comment of your alone was sent to spam, even though my Askimet should know by now how much I love your comments.

  5. I haven’t read many books set in Finland, and I actually can’t think of a single one at the moment! Which makes me want to try some of these and explore. I especially like the sound of The Core of the Sun… I am also interested in the feminist theme in it!

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