New Dutch cover and praise for Jussi Valtonen’s Finlandia Prize-winning They Know Not What They Do!

ValtonenNewsletterJune2015Author Jussi Valtonen’s Finlandia Prize-winning They Know Not What They Do (Tammi 2014) has remained Finland’s most talked-about book for the first half of 2015.

The novel occupies a firm position on local bestseller lists, and Finland’s active literary blogger community continues to discover Valtonen’s story of cultural and family conflicts and the ethics of science and technology. They Know Not What They Do has sold more than 100,000 copies to date.

We are also happy to present the cover of the Dutch edition, published by Signatuur/A.W. Bruna later this year!

Rights have also been sold in the World English territories to Oneworld Publications, in France to Fayard, in Germany to Piper, and in Poland to Foksal.

New praise for They Know Not What They Do:

“Because of the topics it highlights, the profound way in which it examines these topics and its wide perspective, this novel is a landmark of Finnish literature. It is also a showcase of the way in which mainstream and science fiction literature can be combined. [Valtonen] has done it here. Seamlessly.”
Portti (“Gate”) science fiction quarterly, Finland

“Jussi Valtonen’s book is genuinely brilliant….it’s wonderful to know that multitalented voices such as this exist. This has genuinely earned its Finlandia Prize; have we even had literature of this caliber before?”
Kirjapolkuni (“My Book Path”) literature blog, Finland

“Overall the book sparked quite a few thoughts: not only of the relationship between humans and technology, but also of people’s relationships with one another. What aspects of our past, if any, affect our future, how do we come to be the way we are, and, most importantly, do we know what we are doing?”
Lukuvuosi (“Reading Year”) literature blog, Finland

“My expectations [after Carried by Wings] were high when I heard of Valtonen’s new book. He managed to exceed these expectations [with They Know Not What They Do], not by a small margin but a significant one. I didn’t read any of the other Finlandia nominees, but am not at all surprised that they couldn’t measure up to this one. No-one can.”
Kaiken voi lukea (“You can Read it All!”) 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