My Friend Natalia

Reading material

Finnish manuscript
English synopsis
English sample

Original title: Ystäväni Natalia

Published: 2019

Publisher: Teos

Class/genre: Literary

Pages: 240

The long-awaited new novel by Finlandia-prize winner! A bold, and brave novel about young woman’s sexuality, the power of narration, and identity.

Natalia starts to see a therapist to help solve the problems in her sex life. It is clear from the beginning that she is not going to play by the rules of the therapy. The weekly sessions combine art, philosophy, literature, childhood memories, and erotic experiences as a method of treatment, and slowly they make Natalia lose all her inhibitions. She starts to enjoy the therapy – maybe too much?

The novel takes a deconstructive approach to the self-help narratives of our time and drives the tools of autofiction into a dead end, asking what is concealed, when everything is revealed.


Rights sold:

FINLAND: Teos (orig.)
BELGIUM: De Bezige Bij
ESTONIA: Rahva Raamat
FRANCE: Gallimard
HUNGARY: Scolar Kiado
ITALY: Elliot Edizioni
NORWAY: Oktober
ROMANIA: Humanitas Fiction
SWEDEN: Norstedts
UNITED STATES: W.W. Norton / Liveright

”Clever novel about the power struggle between a young woman and her therapist – in which nothing is what it first seems.”
-Hanneke de Klerck, De Volkskrant newspaper, Netherlands


”This novel is about the subtle division of power. The one who has the word has the power. And the great storyteller in this setting is Natalia. The therapy sessions are a celebration of literature and art (think Niki de Saint Phalle, Georgia O’Keeffe, but also the tragedies of Greek mythology). Natalia plays an intellectual game about the appropriation of stories.”
– Dieuwertje Mertens, Het Parool newspaper, Netherlands


”It’s a strange book – and I mean it as a compliment.”
-Cristophe Vekeman, Klara Media, Belgium


“I was tremendously impressed by My Friend Natalia. If the novel had a palette, it would be the grammatically-well-formed-and-yet-wtf selections of a robot with no sense of style (aka @colorschemez): rash celadon, interpolated blue grey, indentured very light purple, pecuniary cobalt blue, uppity brownish purple, autocratic faded red, unadmiring muddy green. This is recommendation by misdirection, because NO SPOILERS is the mantra. Lindstedt has a very Finnish take on sophistication (downbeat, deadpan), is disconcerting, dissonant, peerless in deferred resolution, a blithe dissolver of the regular association of ideas. Why did I not use lockdown to learn Finnish? Why?” — Helen DeWitt, author


”A most exciting book that showcases Lindstedt’s wit and talent, My Friend Natalia creates a fascinating literary landscape.
The author is effortlessly blending different techniques to give us yet another unconventional, gripping novel that challenges the reader’s perceptions.”
– Sigrid Crasnean, translator, Humanitas Fiction, Romania


“I have once called Laura Lindstedt the rock star of literature”

“Lindstedt plays effortlessly with the different language registers. As a literature researcher she knows how to use all the tools of the world literature.”

“The awaited book by Finlandia prize winner has the reader follow a nymphomaniac and very suspicious therapy sessions. The plot-driven mystery has a lot to offer for readers.”

– Aamulehti newspaper, Finland 15.3.2019   ****



My Friend Natalia is a novel about the possibilities of therapy, and a passionate speech about art.”

”Laura Lindstedt has left the conventions of prose behind already in her debut (Scissors), and has broken the rules of narratives ever since. She moves freely in the consciousness of the characters and drops fragments of the story here and there.- – ’My Friend Natalia’ is full of playful irony and female laughter.”

– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, Finland 14.3.2019 *****


”My Friend Natalia is a phenomenal book. It fits perfectly in the current genre of feminist world literature.”

”The texts flows from page to page. There’s nothing too much, nothing too little. It is easy to read even though the topics aren’t easy.”

– Kirsin Book Club blog  17.3.2019


”My Friend Natalia is a literary game. It uses philosophy, feminism and art research to build a narrative with sexuality in its heart. It examines how words and meanings are created. And all of its layers are hiding and revealing something at the same time.”

– Tuijata. Kulttuuripohdintoja. blog 16.3.2019



Laura Lindstedt

Laura Lindstedt (b. 1976) became a critical darling with her adoption-themed debut novel Scissors (Sakset, Teos 2007), which earned her a nomination for the Finlandia Prize, the country’s most prestigious literary honour. She is currently revising her Ph.D. thesis on French author Nathalie Sarraute. Lindstedt’s second novel Oneiron (Teos 2015) is a work of speculative fiction that takes place in the mysterious moments that follow one’s death. Oneiron has continued Lindstedt’s critical success, earning her the coveted 2015 Finlandia Prize. Lindstedt’s latest novel My Friend Natalia has been a critical success and the rights have been sold to 12 territories.


Laura Lindstedt


2015, Literary

Laura Lindstedt


2007, Literary

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