Märta Tikkanen: Love Story of the Century

This Finnish literary classic continues to find new generations of readers.

Author: Märta Tikkanen
Swedish original: Århundradets kärlekssaga
Publisher: Schilldts & Söderströms, 2016 [1978]
Number of pages: 190 pp.
Reading material: Swedish original, English translation, French translation
Rights sold: World English, Deep Vellum; France, Cambourakis; Greece, Melani

Märta Tikkanen’s verse novel The Love Story of the Century debuted in 1978 and quickly became an undisputed classic of Finnish literature.

At the time, it was revolutionary in its depiction of life with an alcoholic husband, the violence and fear that came with it, and the demands placed on women in the family and the home. But it also depicts the power of love and falling in love, and the creative process as a counterforce to everything that’s destructive. The novel is not only a portrait of a woman’s resilience, but also of her rebellion.

The Love Story of the Century  is Tikkanen’s internationally most well-known work, and it has been translated into 19 languages. In Sweden alone it has sold 140,000 copies; in Germany over 65,000; and in Norway 45,000 copies. It has also enjoyed huge success as a theatre adaption: in Germany, for example, it has been shown in over 50 theatres.

“Tikkanen has an unusual ability to let language lightly touch the most delicate topics, to capture the expression of emotion as it is being experienced, and – perhaps, above all – an entirely unique ability to describe falling in love as fresh and new as it is to those who have just been cast under its spell.”
– Expressen (Sweden)

Also available:
Manrape (1975)

About the author:
Märta Tikkanen