Original title: Elotulet
Author: Hanna Meretoja
Genre: Literary Fiction
English sample and synopsis
Close friends come together on the night of Ancient Lights to watch the chain of bonfires blaze across the archipelago and talk through their pasts and futures as the proximity of death ignites an intense passion for life.
Elea has just heard that she is seriously ill and wants to share with friends the sense of urgency that shakes her to her core. The push-and-pull of hope and despair permeates the narration that flows in the rhythm of the sea, in dialogue with Virginia Woolf’s Waves and Tove Jansson’s Summer Book. It captures the soul of the Finnish archipelago – the world’s largest island labyrinth.
Intellectual force is braided with subtle drama as personal emergency is woven into the fabric of global crises: the pandemic and climate change. Time is disrupted, but illuminated moments gleam in the dark. This intellectually fierce and passionate one-evening novel threads philosophical reflections into deeply intimate perceptions in a way that readers of Rachel Cusk and Maggie Nelson will recognize.
The novel has received glowing reviews - it has been praised for its lyrical language, wisdom and boldness, complex philosophical reflection on illness, precise narration, and passion for life, love and nature.
"THE NIGHT OF ANCIENT LIGHTS is a brilliant novel. It is immensely inspiring, a narrative that praises life and humanity in its diverse lights and shades, a kind of ode to life and love."
– Matti Taneli, Vartija journal, Finland
FINLAND: WSOY (orig.)