Original title: Pastoraali
Author: Aki Ollikainen
Genre: Literary Fiction
Finnish PDF, English sample
An idyllic midsummer’s day in Eastern Finland. People falling in love and taking care of each other, and nature sublime in its beauty. But darkness lurks around the corner…
Aki Ollikainen’s picturesque third novel is aglow with the rural idyll of a summer’s day and the fantasies of people wandering in the midsummer’s night. During a single day in Eastern Finland, the realities of multiple generations meet, time flows through itself, and strange things occur. And normal things occur as well. Two young people fall in love, two slightly older ones are struggling with their relationship, and two even older people have found a sublime tranquility in each other.
However, the magical world of A PASTORAL is also cruel and unpredictable. Dark clouds loom over the blue skies, a monstrous wolf wanders in the shadows and mocking ravens swing on a branch. And when the morning finally dawns, the ravenous death has raged amid the idyll.
Ollikainen has spread ambiguous images into the story, as if they were ringing in the background. There are references to Indians and western heroes, contemplations of ecofascism and agriculture falling into a state of sin [---]. The characters represent different generations, with the same experiences still cutting through them. [---] And as a counter-narrative to the gloominess, the radiant evocation of nature and animals arises as a pastoral idyll. This nature is no stationary landscape painting, but is potent, energetic, and contradictory.
Mervi Kantokorpi, Helsingin Sanomat
FINLAND: Siltala (orig.)
CATALAN: Nits Blanques Edicions
FRANCE: Éditions Héloïse d'Ormesson