They Know Not What They Do by Jussi Valtonen still Finland’s bestselling novel!

Valtonen_newsletter_Nov272014Jussi Valtonen’s They Know Not What They Do (Tammi 2014), last year’s highest-selling Finnish novel and winner of the Finlandia Prize, continues to draw attention from both critics and readers. The book, which has sold about 100,000 copies to date, was the #1 bestselling Finnish novel in January, February and March of this year.

Rights have been sold in the World English territories to Oneworld Publications, in France to Fayard, in Germany to Piper, in the Netherlands to Signatuur/A.W. Bruna and in Poland to Foksal.

They Know Not What They Do has also received new critical accolades:

“The author shines in depicting children and young people. The swings of a still-developing young mind, exaggerated bravery and boisterous lack of balance are described in a fresh and original way.”
Parnasso literary magazine, Finland

“The novel is a sharp and haunting depiction of the responsibilities and ethics of a scientist. It forces a reader to contemplate his or her own responsibility and role in the scientific community and society at large.”
Acatiimi magazine, Finland

“Valtonen’s 2014 Finlandia Prize -winning novel is a roaming and multilayered tale of a near future in which people have lost the battle against technology and the power of money…it’s an impressive and scary description of where we are going and where, in some ways, we already are.”
Kirjankuluttaja (“Book Consumer”) literature blog, Finland

About They Know Not What They Do:

When professor Joe Chayefski’s neuroscience lab in Baltimore is attacked by animal rights activists, he doesn’t connect the dots at first. But when he receives a phone call from Alina, his Finnish ex-wife, he begins to gradually realize that the threats on his career and new family are connected to Samuel, the son he left behind in Finland two decades ago. Joe soon learns that his son’s life has gone badly astray, and that Samuel has devoted himself to extreme animal rights activism. Joe realizes that he has to take action to protect his wife and two daughters from his estranged son, by any means necessary.

They Know Not What They Do offers readers piercing psychological insight. It is also a dystopian satire of a world in which nothing is private and everything is for sale..

Original publisher: FINLAND, Tammi
FRANCE, Fayard
GERMANY, Piper Verlag
NETHERLANDS, Signatuur/A.W. Bruna
POLAND, Foksal
WORLD ENGLISH, Oneworld Publications

Reading materials:
English sample
English synopsis
Finnish edition


About author

Jussi Valtonen

Jussi Valtonen (1974) is an author and psychologist from Helsinki. He has studied neuropsychology in the United States and screenwriting in the UK, and has also worked as a science reporter. He has written three novels and a short story collection.

Carried by Wings (Siipien kantamat, Tammi 2007) was given second place in Bonnier’s novel competition, and received a warm reception from both critics and bloggers. In 2014 Valtonen was awarded the Finlandia Prize, the country’s highest-profile literary award, for They Know Not What They Do (He eivät tiedä mitä tekevät, Tammi 2014).


2014, Literary Fiction

They Know Not What They Do

Jussi Valtonen