Our series of short interviews continue! The bestselling author of the Finnish commercial romance fiction, Niina Mero, discusses her love for the genre, breaking its cliches and seeking for public conversation regarding romantic ideals and their meaning to us all. An of course, the cherry on the top – the beloved questionnaire! Read the interview here.
Destruction, the latest work from Iida Rauma, marks the author’s change in representation to Helsinki Literary Agency.
Iida Rauma (b. 1984) is one of the most powerful voices in contemporary Finnish literature. Her first novel, The Book of Disappearances (2011), was nominated for best debut of the year. Her second, On Sex and Mathematics (2015), won both the Kalevi Jäntti Prize and the Torchbearer Prize and was nominated for the European Union Prize for Literature.
Rauma’s latest novel, Destruction, released in January 2022, is one of the spring’s most anticipated literary events. In the words of editor Antti Arnkil:
“Destruction is an ingeniously constructed depiction of power, with multiple stops reverberating simultaneously. When we delve into what happened in one class at one school in Kaarina in the 1990s, a harrowingly realistic vision of the emotional and physical violence targeted at minorities by majorities everywhere unfolds.
At one level, the novel depicts with stark precision how a class of schoolchildren that appeared utterly ordinary turns on one of its own at a teacher’s instigation. Nevertheless, the broader issue is the human impulse toward destruction and the crushing force of mass psychology anywhere, at any time. The rings of violence spread wider and wider from a single case study: children, animals, forests, old buildings, the representatives of marginalized groups – all are bulldozed with the same entitlement the powerful grant themselves. In her text, Iida Rauma shows how systematic bullying, the subjugation of the weak, colonialism, and environmental destruction are ultimately the results of the same social and psychological mechanisms.
The novel takes place in the gray, rain-washed landscape of 1990s Kaarina and Turku, among the ruins of demolished buildings, and loops back deep into history: into the suppression of those categorized as mentally ill or as witches and other marginalized people. Case by case, Rauma depicts the ways in which the strong as if by unspoken agreement trample the weak, the anguish and irreparable damage that result, and how everything is inevitably explained away after the fact. The vision of the way human societies function is chilling, but the meticulous artistic portrayal casts its own glow of hope at the horizon: every time the logic of violence is exposed, it is perhaps a little more difficult for us to participate in it.”
Happy news in the nonfiction department: the chilling ‘Ndrangheta, a new nonfiction by Anton Monti about the prominent Calabrian mafia organisation, has been awarded the Lauri Jäntti’s Recognition Award for Nonfiction!
The jury has stated about the book:
“Anton Monti’s book ‘Ndrangheta is a startling portrayal of our time. It demonstrates the spooky and dystopian reality that is still possible even in such a rich, functional European state as Italy. (…)
The book doesn’t dwell on violence; rather, it reveals connections and enlightens the reader on causes and consequences. It shows how deeply the organisation has penetrated every society in which it actively operates. We are not talking about a criminal organisation working“from the outside”; ‘Ndrangheta is a way of living, evena sortof worldview.”
Lauri Jäntti’s foundation was founded in 1983, in order to promote and support nonfiction works from Finland. The yearly prize of 20,000 euros is given to the best Finnish or Finnish-Swedish nonfiction book published during the previous year, and one or several nonfictions receive the recognition award of 7500 euros.
Moreover, ‘Ndrangheta recently enjoyed its first foreign rights deal: Russian rights have been sold to Mereshchakov Publishing House.