Lithuanian rights to Jussi Valtonen’s They Know Not What They Do sold to Alma Littera!

ValtonenNewsletterJune2015We are thrilled to announce that Alma Littera, publisher of authors such as Margaret Atwood, David Baldacci and Gillian Flynn, has acquired Lithuanian rights to Jussi Valtonen’s Finlandia Prize-winning They Know Not What They Do (Tammi 2014).

Valtonen’s novel, which explores family conflicts, the ethics of science and the search for identity in an impersonal, fragmented and technology-ruled society, has been Finland’s most talked-about recent literary event: it has been universally praised by critics and sold more than 100,000 copies to date.

“We are very excited to be able to present this book to Lithuanian readers. It is fresh and contemporary, and in spite of being a lengthy novel it does not contain a single unnecessary word.”
– Ingrida Dubauskienė, editor, Alma Littera 

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

Praise from international publishers:

“Discovering a strong new voice in literary fiction always feels great. This is how we felt at Fayard about Jussi Valtonen, whose work is ambitious, moving and fresh in the way it regards some of the major issues of our societies.”
– Sophie de Closets, Président Directeur Général, Fayard

“Jussi Valtonen is a wonderful writer who asks crucial questions about our time and the technological progress, scrutinizing if it really should be one of the highest goods of our society. Mainly, though, he portrays a family with all possible empathy, and portrays people living and working, loving and failing. I’m astonished by the way in which these two parts come together in this fascinating, heartbreaking and true novel.”
– Anvar Cukoski, Editor, Piper Verlag

“It is so exciting to come across a novelist who seeks to engage deeply with the questions of our time, and in They Know Not What They Do Jussi Valtonen has achieved that rare thing – an intelligent, compellingly readable, and above all thought-provoking novel. This is definitely a book you’ll be thinking about long after you’ve finished reading it.”
– Juliet Mabey, Publisher, Oneworld

“Jussi Valtonen is one of those authors who can evoke a change in your thoughts, ideas and prejudices, while entertaining you at the same time. The thin line between what we think is our reality, and what it could become, is fascinating. His psychological portraits and observations on science and society are spot on.”
– Juliette van Wersch, Publisher, Signatuur/A.W. Bruna

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
LITHUANIA, Alma Littera
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