Kari Hotakainen: A Law of Nature

Darkly serious and divinely humorous take on the laws of nature and on the nature of man.

Author: Kari Hotakainen
Finnish original: Luonnonlaki
Publisher: Siltala Publishing, 2013
Genre: literary fiction
Number of pages: 280 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample, Italian translation

Rights sold: Denmark, Gyldendal; Italy, Iperborea; Norway, Cappelen Damm; Poland, Claroscuro; Slovenia, KUD Sodobnost

A car crash on the highway, and Rautala is hurled into another reality. Day after day he lies immobilized in a hospital bed, at the mercy of others, dependent on the care of others.

Laura the nurse has tended to hundreds of patients, given them hope and tolerated everything, but Rautala is beyond Laura’s ability to cope – he pushes her beyond the limit.

Rautala’s daughter Mira has always been on a collision course with her father. Rautala’s accident and Mira’s pregnancy make father and daughter try to overcome their differences – but can the proximity of death and birth really bring any lasting change to their relationship?

Kari Hotakainen’s novel A Law of Nature throws its readers into the midst of a situation where the private and personal suddenly move into a wider social reality and context. Horror and beauty, life and death, laughter and tears change places with the speed of a lightning, making the novel a darkly serious and divinely humorous read. Nature has its
own laws, a man has his nature – and Hotakainen has a unique perspective on both.

Hotakainen’s sentences are the best in Finnish literature. (…) Hotakainen’s novel
could be called a sweet ride. Not a single corner has been cut, and it passes the
annual inspection with flying colours.

– Aamulehti newspaper

“Hotakainen has once more written brilliantly concise observations of man and life.
He is a true master of aphoristical prose. Also the narration deserves praise. (…). A
Law of Nature is excitingly both thin and deep. Hotakainen’s stylized, even fairytale-
like characters remind of director Aki Kaurismäki’s movies.

– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

A Law of Nature hums with the same type of fatality as The Human Part and The
Word of God, and yet a playfulness is nevertheless intertwined with this austerity. (…)
There is not a proper line of dialogue in the entire novel. The characters’ speech
swims along with the narration. But oh, how it swims! It is idiomatic down to the
smallest intonations!

– Etelä-Saimaa newspaper

The expression Hotakainen brings to A Law of Nature is refined. A passionately
guarded wisdom can be savoured in its sentences.

– Kaleva newspaper

Once again, Hotakainen delves into the human mind with admirable insight. He
depicts people, even those who are unpleasant, with humorous warmth
– Anna magazine

A Law of Nature is both a societal and extremely personal novel.
– ET-lehti magazine

True to his style, the author deals with the world both seriously and humorously; the
sentences sprout with aphorisms for life.

– Yhteishyvä magazine

“A Law of Nature is a scintillatingly good and profound book.”
– Kirjapolkuni literature blog

Also available:
Story (2020)
Lifeline (2015)
The Word of God (2011)
The Human Part (2009)
Trench Road (2002)

About the author:
Kari Hotakainen