The Second Coming of Christ

Aki Ollikainen

Original title: Kristuksen toinen tuleminen

Author: Aki Ollikainen

Published: 2022

Publisher: Siltala

Genre: Literary Fiction

Pages: 180

Reading material:

English sample & synopsis

“Aki Ollikainen continues to write shining novels. [–] The nearly 160-page novel is a beautiful book.”

While on his rural tour in autumn 1914, the tenor singer Aarne Oden coughs up a life-threatening amount of blood, and he is diagnosed with tuberculosis. He is sent off to the tuberculosis sanatorium, the kingdom of those hanging on to life by just a thread.

At the same time, in a remote village in the north, the preacher and landowner Kustaa Anttola is preparing for the Michaelmas prayer proceedings. However, the preparations get interrupted when he finds the local madman Stye-Viljaami drinking in his barn. In his anger, Kustaa gives Viljami a heavy beating. During the prayers, Kustaa’s life is forever altered as Christ appears behind the window to listen to his sermon.

Aarne, who has recovered at the sanatorium, also finds himself in the north, supervising the transportation of munitions of the Russian Empire, from the coasts of the Arctic Ocean to the northernmost railroad station of the Empire. When spring comes, Aarne meets Christ on the shore of a wild lake and finds that the two have more in common than he thought. And soon, Kustaa Anttola finds two Christs on his land.

How do people see themselves when they’re forced to give up what they have constructed their identity on, and illness becomes the characteristic trait defining them? And how does one see their loved ones, marked by death and illness? What happens to a righteous preacher when the long-expected Christ arrives before him in the form of the creature most wretched?

Aki Ollikainen’s latest novel grows larger in size thanks to its lyrical language. The individual scenes are like expressionist paintings reaching over the visible world.

History still repeats itself in Aki Ollikainen’s fourth novel, The Second Coming of Christ, which is one of the best-named and linguistically impressive novels of this autumn. [—] Ollikainen writes with tact, consideration and beauty, producing small beads of prose. [—] The best thing about this novel is its language. [—] One feels calm when reading The Second Coming of Christ [—]. The calmness is due to the fact that the text is like a prayer that leads its reader to sanctity.

– Esa Mäkijärvi, Demokraatti magazine

Download reading materials

Rights sold:
FINLAND: Siltala (orig.)

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.


2022, Literary Fiction

Aki Ollikainen

The Second Coming of Christ

2018, Literary Fiction

Aki Ollikainen

A Pastoral

2015, Literary Fiction

Aki Ollikainen

A Tale of Darkness

2013, Literary Fiction

Aki Ollikainen

White Hunger