Irrational Things

Saara Turunen

Original title: Järjettömiä asioita

Author: Saara Turunen

Published: 2021

Publisher: Tammi

Genre: Literary Fiction

Pages: 340

Reading material:

Long English sample, synopsis. Spanish sample.

A story of love, death and life between two countries. Turunen’s funny, witty and melancholic voice examines the contradiction of sense and sensibility.

The narrator of the book, a nameless woman, travels to Barcelona. She meets a foreign man and falls in love with him. The man is the total opposite of her in many ways. Where she has been brought up to exert control, to plan and to master her life, he is sort of a free soul. He doesn’t want to worry about tomorrow; rather, he just drifts freely, taking things as they come. The book discusses not only love but also writing about it. Is love a suitable subject to deal with if you want to be taken seriously? And what is love really? Is it comparable to the class system, a way of controlling property and heritage, or something else, something difficult to explain but unavoidable, for all of us to deal with at some point of our lives.

Turunen handles her themes in a melancholy and playful way. The short, clear sentences convey precise observations about the contradictions of life, norms, the expectations we face and the difficulties in fulfilling them. The narration flows effortlessly and takes the reader to a fascinating and private world, strongly connected with our times but at the same time teeming with eternal questions.


"Even though love is complicated, it is never irrational. This, and other ideas Turunen carefully depicts with her lovable style that pays attention even to the smallest of details."
- Helsingin Sanomat newspaper 17.3.

"Like Saga Noren dropped in the middle of Los Serranos!"  - Etelä-Suomen Sanomat newspaper 17.3.

"In a short time Turunen has become the most interesting contemporary Finnish writer." - Ilta-Sanomat newspaper 17.3.

"I love the way Turunen writes about seemingly mundane details, but they actually represent structures or pain points of the society. Her language is straightforward, and the humor is seen in the contrasts of what is said and what happens. " - Turun Sanomat newspaper 17.3.

"We are honored to be the first foreign publishers of this masterly Work by Saara Turunen. We believe that its subject is a matter of great relevance in the face of the modern life-style and the readers will relate with and feel for the main heroine."- Ieva Savukynaitė-Dubicka, BALTO, Lithuania

Saara Turunen explores the dramaturgy of romantic love, partly the expectations placed on couple relationships in real life and partly how we talk about them in literature. It’s as if Turunen asked: can interesting literature be made out of this? Out of everyday life that is going on, of choices and events whose outcomes are still unclear. Out of insects and potted plants, tomato sauce, store runs, dinners with mother-in-law, quarrels, sex, failed vacations, frying fat and full vacuum cleaner bags. In the same way, she manages to skilfully put into words the more elusive feelings, of hesitation and dissatisfaction.

Isabella Rothberg, Hufvudstadsbladet newspaper

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Rights sold:
FINLAND: Tammi (orig.)
ESTONIA: Eesti Raamat


Foreign covers

About author

Saara Turunen

Saara Turunen is an internationally acclaimed award-winning author, playwright and director. Much of her work examines the themes of art, identity and social norms. Turunen is known for her three highly acclaimed novels - Irrational Things (2021), The Bystander (2018) and Love/Monster (2015), but also for her work in theatre. Her plays have been translated into 15 languages and performed all around the world. Turunen has received the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize in 2015, the Finland Prize in 2016, the City of Helsinki’s The Artist of the Year Award in 2018 and the Lea-Prize in 2020, all high-profile awards given in Finland.


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