Decent Ingredients

Reading material

English sample & synopsis
Finnish edition

Original title: Säädyllinen ainesosa

Published: 2016

Publisher: Teos

Class/genre: Literary

Pages: 335


Torch-bearer Prize nominee 2017

In 1956, Helsinki housewife Saara befriends her upstairs neighbor Elisabeth, who throws parties for artists, lives to eat and corresponds with faraway friends. As they get to know each other, Saara learns that Elisabeth is everything Saara is not: fashionable, independent, a citizen of the world. And a spy.

With echoes of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway  and Linn Ullmann’s domestic portrayals, Decent Ingredients is a story about the bourgeoisie of Helsinki during the Cold War; about forbidden love, dangerous secrets and, about food, which reflects life, love, class, sexuality and politics throughout this richly-detailed and atmospheric novel by the award-winning Parkkinen.

Rights sold:

Original publisher: FINLAND, Teos
ITALY, Aspasia/Sovera Edizioni

Decent Ingredients is, in all respects, a near-perfect novel. The story and the characters are intriguing, surprising and inspiring. Wartime and post-war Finland and Europe come across for the reader as a sensory avalanche of tastes, images, feelings and perceptively chosen phenomena.” – Aamulehti newspaper, Finland

“Leena Parkkinen has become one of the most interesting authors of our country.” – Demokraatti newspaper, Finland

“A beautiful portrayal of female bodies desiring one another.” – Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, Finland


Leena Parkkinen

Leena Parkkinen has authored three prize-winning adults’ novels set in 20th century Europe, often about people living at the margins society. Her skillful use of detail is often imbued with an element of suspense. She has also written two children’s story books.

Parkkinen has received numerous literary awards, such as Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize for the best debut (2009), Academic Bookshop’s Bestselling Debut Prize (2009), Laila Hirvisaari Award (2010) and the Kalevi Jäntti Prize (2013), in addition to being nominated for the Tulenkantaja Export Prize 2017. Her works have been translated into seven languages to date.



Leena Parkkinen

Little Brother’s Marvellous Expedition

2017, Picture Book

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