Author Anna-Kaari Hakkarainen’s second novel Eruption (Purkaus, Tammi 2014) has been a standout literary event in Finland this spring. The story of two boys and a girl growing up on the volcanic island of Heimaey near Iceland has drawn widespread critical attention, in particular for its poetic use of language and psychologically astute storytelling. It was also a London Book Fair hit, with a number of international publishers requesting for manuscripts.
See below for some critical highlights:
“Hakkarainen has constructed believable and real characters, relatable in their upward struggle. Some stay behind, others leave, and each choice leaves behind a wound that has been torn open like the surface of the earth after an eruption.”
–Parnasso literary magazine, Finland
“The barren island is a boxed-off environment for both the characters and the reader. It crystallizes and contains these people and their experiences. The borders of this land are constantly visible, but the horizon is free: a place where nothing is visible. The ever-present landscape is more than just scenery: it contains everything, and everything comes back to it.”
–Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, Finland
”Hakkarainen utilizes spellbindingly lyrical prose…this narrative whole is simultaneously delicate and sharp. The characters are alive in their ruggedness and unpredictability.”
–Savon Sanomat newspaper, Finland
”A marvelous and stunning novel. And let it be said again: one of the most beautiful. It’s perhaps the combination of a rugged milieu and the beautiful storytelling that brought to mind a very dear book, Claudie Gallay’s The Breakers.”
–Sivulauseita (”Side sentences”) literature blog
About the book
Eruption tells the story of brothers Kjarri and Birk, who as children meet beautiful and lonesome Vigdis on the beach. The three friends grow up on Heimaey, an island off the coast of Iceland that rings with the calls of puffins. Through their formative years they remain inseparable, dreaming of a life that they hope will always be shared. Then childhood gives way to adulthood, love turns into lust, bonds of friendship are broken and one person leaves – only to return when a volcano, silent for decades, begins to erupt. Eruption ties questions of love, death, and the dismantling of an idyll into the story of three individuals – while also containing joy and hope for the future.
Anna-Kaari Hakkarainen (b. 1979) has an MA in Visual Culture and works as a journalist and editor. She is an eager hobbyist sailor, and loves the ocean and glaciers. Her debut novel, The Net (Verkko, Tammi 2011), imagined Finland under Soviet occupation in the 1970s and 1980s. The concept for Eruption was inspired by her six-month stay in Iceland in 2001.
English sample available at the end of May!