Anni Kytömäki: Goldheart

When everything is lost and even the stars seem silent, there still is the rock underneath to stand on.

Reading material: Finnish manuscript, English sample

Author: Anni Kytömäki
Finnish original: Kultarinta
Publisher: Gummerus, 2014
Genre: Literary fiction
Number of pages: 644 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample, English synopsis

It is spring 1917, the year of great political turmoil in Finland. Erik Stenfors, the son of a wealthy forest owner, meets Lidia – a working class girl who has moved to the city from a cabin in the woods. While others join the Red Guards or the Civil Guards, Erik, needing a new direction to his life, heads to the Northern wilderness.

The winter in complete isolation surprises the trained nature scholar. Even bigger surprises lie in store, as Erik returns to Helsinki next spring. Finland has become independent and Lidia an outlaw.

Goldheart is a story about a man who lies down on a rock, intending to freeze to death, about a woman who writes to change the world, about a girl who grows up with more courage than her father, and about a boy who finds a swan’s nest and catches the scent of the bear’s passing, and who conquers his own fear and meets the wild, free heart of the forest.

“Kytömäki’s novel cannot fail to impress readers with its detailed, knowledgeable, nuanced, and very emotional description of nature which borders on the mystical. Additionally, the novel is exceptional in its depiction of human nature, but not at all because of deft dialogue, but rather because of its depiction of introverted, lonely people’s emotions…And we shouldn’t forget what may the most important aspect of the novel: the twists and turns of the plot are extremely dramatic and surprising.”
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

“Goldheart, weighing in at 644 pages, provides the reader with a stunningly beautiful story. This debut novel is structured well. Nothing is superfluous; even the smallest details and scenes are well-thought-out. Anni Kytömäki’s prose is exceptionally beautiful.”
– Yleisradio, national public broadcasting company

 Also available:
Stone Weaver (2017)
Margarita (2020)

About the author:
Anni Kytömäki