Wonderful news for Marisha Rasi-Koskinen’s extraordinary novel REC and Anni Kytömäki’s Finlandia Prize-winner Margarita: on 28th of April, both titles were among the awarded the Tampere City Literature Prize, given yearly to most outstanding fiction works written by authors either born or currently living in the city of Tampere.
The jury has stated about REC:
“REC takes the reader to a world where nothing is self-evident. (…) The novel gives them a set of keys that open doors to a better understanding of the world and self. Masterfully written events and language are captivating; one sentence contains the whole life, another can turn everything upside down. The lucky reader encounters many surprises: between the lines, many things turn out to be different than they seemed.”
Previously, REC has also been awarded the prestigious Runeberg Prize and the Torch-Bearer Prize, and foreign rights have been recently sold to Denmark.
The novel is like a collection of Lynchian literary fugues and an atmospheric, post-modern dive into the fragmented reality we are living today. When teenager Lucas meets a peculiar boy named Cole, it is a start of a decades-long on-and-off friendship, where real and fictional characters are present simultaneously, where images and stories begin many times, in various places, and where dark, possessive and manipulating side of humans take over with irrevocable outcomes – unless… nothing is true. As the author herself describes the book, “it is a love letter to fiction”, where the reality is not unambiguous and the understanding of it is rather formed in people’s minds, stories and images.
Marisha Rasi-Koskinen has published six works of fiction. In 2019, her first YA book The Dark Side of the Sun won the most prestigious literary award of the year, Finlandia Junior.
About Margarita, the jury stated:
“Margarita is a beautifully written story, that ties together the ideas of pacifism, environmentalism and women’s rights. Kytömäki uses rich language that takes the reader to the narrators’ world – including the underwater, home of the freshwater mussel. Margarita reminds us about the fragility of nature and the importance of protecting it, and gives a voice to those previously unheard.”
A trained nature surveyor, Anni Kytömäki is devoted to exploring relationships between nature and people throughout generations, and this angle is especially powerful in her bestselling Margarita, the winner of the most prestigious literary award in Finland, Finlandia Prize.
It tells a story set post-war Finland. The country is rebuilding after the war, industry is growing and the future seems bright, but the increase of the economical welfare has its downsides: old forests are being cut down, and one species central for the plot of the novel, freshwater pearl mussel, is getting endangered. And even as the world is moving ahead, there are still the same old obstacles present which humankind has always had to deal with: polio is taking its toll on the rising nation. In this setting, dramatic fates of different people intertwine.
Well over 55,000 copies sold in Finland and 4 foreign rights deals are the best proof that the book resonates with readers, offering a view on our fragile connection with nature, as well as policies implemented for the good of the welfare state.
Congratulations to the authors!