Antti Rönkä: Nocturno 09:07

An unsparingly frank novel about adolescent struggles with shame.

Author: Antti Rönkä
Finnish original: Nocturno 21:07
Publisher: Gummerus, 2021
Genre: literary fiction
Number of pages: 192 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample, English synopsis

The digital numbers on the clock radio read 09:07. It’s a beautiful summer night, but Antti is sure life as he knows it has just come to an end. He has not been able to resist the temptation: he has just masturbated. How can he ever eat at the same table as his parents again? He is polluted, and he must confess to his parents what sort of child they have.

Antti’s youth is stamped by a sexual shame that takes on various forms of self-hatred. Even so, he cannot control the sexual urges his age-mates consider completely natural.

In another layer of the novel, the first-person narrator observes Antti’s struggles. The narrator understands he must kill the side of himself that is ashamed of everything if he wants to be free.

Antti Rönkä became the voice of his generation with his debut novel Off the Ground. In his second novel, he lays himself bare while deftly exploring sexual shame.

Told in the first person, Off the Ground by the Finnish author Antti Rönkä is striking for both the sharpness of its psychological analysis and its cruelty. It is a dissection of scalpel like precision, and a painful one. […] There is something in this masochistic analysis that brings to mind Notes from Underground (1864) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and The Catcher in the Rye (1951) by J.D. Salinger. […] The novel is an impressive debut that became a phenomenon in Finland.
– Le Monde (France) on Off the Ground

Also available:
Off the Ground (2019)

About the author:
Antti Rönkä