A ride to the core of writing, with sharp observations of relationships and some Slavic spice.
Author: Pirkko Saisio
Finnish original: Epäröintejä
Publisher: Siltala, 2019
Genre: literary fiction, autofiction
Number of pages: c. 240 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample, English synopsis
Prevarications is a charming collection with a sharp psychological eye and a wise view of the world. The hilarious, biting stories are woven together by an omniscient narrator, who moves flexibly from autobiographical fiction to fiction and back.
“I can’t distinguish a memory, a dream, a nightmare or a vision from actual reality, since in my mind, actual reality does not exist,” states the narrator.
New stories and fates come and go on the narrator’s whim. The stage is occupied in turn by a janitor hopelessly in love, Maria Alyokhina from Pussy Riot, Chekhov’s Burkin and Ivan Ivanovich, – and The Woman.
Prevarications was shortlisted for the prestigious Runeberg Prize in November 2019.
“Pirkko Saisio has for a long time been her own genre, an author with a recognizable style, but in her late works she has crossed borders and combined genres with ever more courage. (…) In the core of Prevarications is authorship with its dangers, metafiction. Saisio takes dressed down the author and shows her the very moment when her characters start to live their own lives. (…) The novel is not a manual for a writer, but many of its scenes would make fine examples. Seldom has the reader been given such a concrete ride to the core of writing. (…) The ideal of economy, often bound to theater, is blooming in Prevarications: there is not a single sentence that would be unnecessary or unfunctional.”
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper
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