A Tale of Darkness

Aki Ollikainen

Original title: Musta satu

Author: Aki Ollikainen

Published: 2015

Publisher: Siltala

Genre: Literary Fiction

Pages: 155

Reading material:

Finnish PDF, English sample

In his second novel, Aki Ollikainen takes his readers to Tattarisuo, which has a dark and special reputation in Finnish criminal history. The narrator’s family has fallen apart, and his wife and son have left him. Reality has become unhinged, and the unresolved tragedies inherited from prior generations have started to overwhelm his thoughts. Many paths seem to lead him to Tattarisuo, a place where a man known as Witch-Kallio used to perform mystic practices.

On a second temporal level, the reader follows Heino, a bootlegger in 1930s Helsinki. Heino has a family, a wife and a son, and his life in order, but an all-too-human greed takes hold both in love and money, and Heino’s selfishness and carelessness bring about a chain reaction of events stretching across generations, with the nocturnal Tattarisuo as its starting or ending point.

A TALE OF DARKNESS is a somber, beautiful novel about dissolution on the levels of the individual, family, chain of generations and society as well. The past molds us in one way or another. Inside each and every one of us is a Tattarisuo, a dismal place to drown, but whence a trove of unfathomable riches might one day arise.

[‘A Tale of Darkness’] is a considerably more complex and daring undertaking than its predecessor, but equally subtle in its expressiveness - beautiful, moving and creepy.

Antti Majander, Helsingin Sanomat

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Rights sold:
FINLAND: Siltala (orig.)


Foreign covers

About author

Aki Ollikainen

Aki Ollikainen has studied social policy at the University of Jyväskylä and is a trained photographer. He has previously worked as an editor and, among other things, at a metal workshop, a library, and a post office. His debut novel White Hunger received the Helsingin Sanomat Literary Prize for Best Debut Novel of 2012 and was longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2016. Ollikainen lives in Lohja with his wife and two children. Aki and his wife Milla form the pseudonym A.M. Ollikainen and have jointly published two crime novels.


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