Riina Katajavuori’s The Ladies of Seven Brothers (Wenla Männistö, Tammi 2014) continues to draw rave reviews from critics, many of whom are calling it one of the year’s best Finnish novels. Reviews are also pouring in from Finland’s active literary blogger community.
Several adaptations of The Ladies of Seven Brothers, including a stage version, are in the works.
Inspired by Finland’s most famous literary work, Aleksis Kivi’s Seven Brothers (1870), The Ladies of Seven Brothers is a satirical and spirited depiction of youth, motherhood, and of growing up in modern-day Helsinki.
Recent praise for The Ladies of Seven Brothers:
“Reading this book was a mind-blowing experience. Everything in it was so magnificent and so successfully executed that I think I read the entire book with a silly smile of infatuation on my face…there’s a lot I would like to say about this book, but I can’t find words big enough. This is perfect.”
– Kirjojen keskellä (“Surrounded by Books”) literature blog, Finland
“Katajavuori’s book has been called ‘a delicious update on a classic’ – and it truly is. The Ladies of Seven Brothers is a refreshing read for both young people and adults. Whether or not one is familiar with Kivi’s famous Jukola brothers doesn’t really matter.”
– Kirjat kertovat (“Books Tell”) literature blog, Finland
“An audacious and hilarious update on Seven Brothers that should also be of interest to young readers.”
– Implisiittinen lukija (“The Implicit Reader”) literature blog, Finland
“[Katajavuori] has done the same thing as Kivi in his time: he used the same unrefined language that ordinary people used, and riled up the literary elite. I giggled happily inside the trap she had set for me.”
– Kyyti library and literature blog, Finland
About the book:
All the guys are crazy about 17-year-old Wenla Männistö, who is whole-heartedly enjoying her youth, playing in a rock band and flirting with the seven slacker brothers next door. Her mother is the practical but enigmatic midwife Marja Männistö, who has raised Wenla on her own.
Bringing her own voice into the narrative is Alli Jukola, the deceased mother of the Jukola brothers, who contemplates the past and watches her boys while lounging on the edge of a cloud. We also hear from straight-talking washer Kajsa Rajamäki and Wenla’s best friend Ansku Seunala, who believes in angels. All the while, the seven brothers of Jukola trade bad jokes in front of the TV and cause mischief in the neighbourhood.
The Ladies of Seven Brothers is a modern-day deconstruction of Finland’s most famous literary work, Aleksis Kivi’s Seven Brothers (1870), told from a female perspective.
THE LADIES OF SEVEN BROTHERS (Wenla Männistö)
Original publisher: FINLAND, Tammi