Nominated for the Topelius Prize 2012: A gripping tale that sweeps the reader along.
After a trip to Lapland, Jouni is confused to start with. Why does a skinny, tree-hugging woman appear in front of him both on the fells of Lapland and in the outskirts of his home town? Is he imagining it all – why does no one else see the woman? But when Jouni is on his way to a music shop with his best mate Mikko to buy a guitar, something happens to give him a profound scare.
‘I reckon what’s happened is that you’re being pursued by a spirit,’ says Romppainen when Jouni confides in his former teacher. ‘What I cannot tell you is why it’s happened and what it wants from you.’ Romppainen takes a thick volume called Mythical Tales down from the shelf.
‘This is not a tale,’ Jouni blurts out. This is real.’
‘Calm down. Sometimes fact and fiction are not as far apart as is generally thought.’
Jouni’s mother, a Koltta Sami, vanished when Jouni was little. Ever since, he has lived with his father and his sister Saara. Are the mysterious events somehow connected with his mother, is she under the spell of the forest magic or what has happened to her? The eagle owl, which has settled down in Jouni’s garden, could probably answer if you could understand it.
Jouni begins to get to the bottom of the mystery with his friend Mikko. He is helped by the membership register of a Lapp community and Romppainen, the charismatic teacher who taught Jouni throughout his time at the primary school.
In addition to supernatural events, Jouni gets into a spin because of natural events. Romppainen’s daughter Matleena is at the same school and first love hits him like a sledgehammer. Fear and love, secrets and reality transform his life.