A novel about death and a love that defies limits.
Author: Anna Englund
Finnish original: Lautapalttoo
Publisher: Siltala, 2022
Genre: literary fiction
Number of pages: 227 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample, English synopsis
Rights sold: Estonia, Ühinenud ajakirjad
The year is 1931. Elena carries on the tradition of coffinmaking in a rural village: her husband handles the carving, Elena sews the cushioning, and her elderly mother-in-law does what she can. Death is a daily colleague, and life flows along calmly in its familiar channels.
But when a strange woman from the capital arrives to buy a coffin, everything is thrown into disarray. Love is a force that changes a person, but can one demolish the entire framework of a life in its pursuit?
Pine Coat is Anna Englund’s highly praised debut novel, which pulses with the rhythms of the 1930s. Englund paints the past and present of her hardscrabble characters with a light, warm, and deft hand, hopefully and optimistically.
“Also spare, considered, and polished are the book’s contents. There is nothing extraneous in it, and yet it contains everything. This little book is a big read.”
– Anna magazine
“With a delicate pen, Anna Englund draws forth the internal lives of secondary characters as well. There’s not a trace of beginner’s fumbling, let alone searching for a voice. […] In some remarkable yet very dignified way, Englund’s opus succeeds in being optimistic without falling into childish hope. […] A book that rises from the black keys of angst to beauty.”
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper
“Death sounds like a grim topic for a debut novel, but Anna Englund also celebrates life and love. From the extremes of existence a dia- logue between the grotesque and ethereal beauty develops, seasoned with a comforting dash of gallows humor and central Ostrobothnian dialect. […] Englund depicts her characters delicately and captures the ambiances of the era.”
– Kaleva newspaper
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