We are thrilled to share the news that Kaj Korkea-aho’s THE RED ROOM has been nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2022!
The prestigious prize is given annually to a work of literature that meets high literary and artistic standards, written in a Nordic language. The Nordic Council Literature Prize is worth DKK 300,000 (approx. €40 300). The winner of the prize will be announced and the prize awarded on November 1st 2022 in Helsinki. Among the previous winners of the prize are for example the Nobel Laureates Tomas Tranströmer and Eyvind Johnson.
Nordic Council Literary Prize 2022 Motivation:
“Korkea-aho’s text unerringly challenges many of our contemporary age’s notions of power and dominance, resoluteness and desire, without imposing pointers or ready-made answers. The novel openly and emphatetically approaches the yearning of its characters and sensitively orbits the enigmatic and contradictory expressions of desire”
“A young and slightly depressed author and musician grows tired of his poor artist’s life is enticed by the thought of good bargains and shortcuts to happiness. Imagine if someone gave him a nice apartment in exchange for a novel written by him? Our protagonist places a half-serious advert in the local paper and receives a response from a person who appears to be a combination of Hercule Poirot and Mephistopheles.
“We’ll surely come to an agreement,” says Aimo Kangas and suggests that the main character buy his incredible apartment at a price far lower than what’s reasonable. The phrase continues to ring in the narrator’s ears and throughout the story takes on an ever more complicated tone. Come to an agreement?
Alongside the novel’s narrator, the reader tries to relate to the gentle and polite Aimo. It soon becomes clear that he wants our main character to write a book about him and his longing for submission. Is it wrong to wrong to profoundly want to put your life in someone else’s hands and float in a state of powerlessness, free from all responsibility? But Aimo’s soft and sophisticated essence is combined with a manipulative vein that gives the book the air of a thriller.
The red room of the title does not refer to August Strindberg’s monumental work, but a room in an apartment, a chamber for dreams, experience and eventually even abuse. The novel’s main character is drawn to and repelled by this apartment. Together, he tries to repaint the red room white at the same time he continues to meet with Aimo, all the while inconspicuously sliding deeper and deeper into the older man’s mental world.
Kaj Korkea-aho (b. 1983) is a Finland-Swedish author, columnist and a comedian. He has previously published the novels Se till mig som liten är (2009; Look After Me, Who is Little), Gräset är mörkare på andra sidan (2012; The Grass is Darker on the Other Side), and Onda boken (2015; The Evil Book), the last of which has been translated into six languages.”
The Red Room (orig. Röda rummet)
Förlaget M, August 2021
FINLAND (in Swedish, orig.): Förlaget M
FINLAND (in Finnish): Otava
SWEDEN: Förlaget M
English sample and synopsis