Which is more devastating, the abominable wartime atrocities or the life-long burden of the survivors?
Author: Jenni Linturi
Finnish original: Isänmaan tähden
Publisher: Teos, 2011
Genre: literary fiction
Number of pages: c. 304 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, Danish Translation
Rights sold: Denmark, Turbine; Estonia, Pegasus
Some say that when you fall from a high place, your entire life flashes before your eyes.
When 79-year-old Antti Vallas falls from the roof, nothing flashes before his eyes. But then his years of voluntary military service in Nazi Germany’s Wafen ss puncture the present. There they are again, in a vortex of memories and people he cannot escape. The familiar faces he knew from the front return, as does the war where the atrocities reached far beyond the combat.
Jenni Linturi’s debut is not your typical military novel. For the Fatherland shakes the foundations of the hero myth and shows people as they are in near-impossible conditions. Through breathtaking language and skillful storytelling, Linturi shows readers that it is not always possible to come home from war, even if you stay alive.
“Linturi throws herself into both the eastern front and death knocking at the door in a way that blows the mind and emotions of her reader. In other words, an outstanding performance, even disconcertingly confident to be the work of a beginner. […] On the basis of the debut I would be prepared to foresee a notable career for her, whatever the topic.”
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper
“Jenni Linturi’s For the Fatherland is an important book. It is fiction, but at the same time it is an utterly exceptional ‘military novel’ […] Linturi has made a fine debut and breakthrough.”
– Keskisuomalainen newspaper
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