The Night of Ancient Lights

Hanna Meretoja

Original title: Elotulet

Author: Hanna Meretoja

Published: 2022

Publisher: WSOY

Genre: Literary Fiction

Pages: 462

Reading material:

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

Download reading materials

Rights sold:
GERMANY: mareverlag

About author

Hanna Meretoja

Hanna Meretoja is an internationally renowned literary scholar, a professor of comparative literature, and narrative theorist whose work has been published by prestigious academic publishers. Her monographs include The Ethics of Storytelling: Narrative Hermeneutics, History, and the Possible (2018, Oxford University Press). Her work is mainly in the fields of narrative studies, cultural memory studies, and trauma studies. As a novelist, Meretoja has a unique lyrical voice that seamlessly threads cultural theory and philosophy into a poetic, ruptured narrative with an acute sense of lived experience.


2022, Literary Fiction

Hanna Meretoja

The Night of Ancient Lights