They Know Not What They Do

Jussi Valtonen

Original title: He eivät tiedä mitä tekevät

Author: Jussi Valtonen

Published: 2014

Publisher: Tammi

Genre: Literary Fiction

Pages: 559

Reading material:

English edition

A sweeping, multilayered story of family conflicts, the ethics of science and the search for identity in an impersonal society.

When professor Joe Chayefski’s neuroscience lab in Baltimore is attacked by animal rights activists, he doesn’t connect the dots at first. But when he receives a phone call from Alina, his Finnish ex-wife, he begins to gradually realize that the threats on his career and new family are connected to Samuel, the son he left behind in Finland two decades ago. Joe soon learns that his son’s life has gone badly astray, and that Samuel has devoted himself to extreme animal rights activism. Samuel is now somewhere in the United States, but neither Alina nor the authorities know his exact location. Joe realizes that he has to take action to protect his wife and two daughters from his estranged son, by any means necessary.

By depicting its three main characters in an intense struggle to understand an increasingly confusing world, They Know Not What They Do offers readers both piercing psychological acumen and a striking dystopian satire of a neuro-digitalized Western society in which nothing is private and everything is for sale.

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Rights sold:
FINLAND: Tammi (orig.)
CHINA: China International Radio Press
CZECH REPUBLIC: Leda
FRANCE: Editions Fayard
GERMANY: Piper
HUNGARY: Cser
NETHERLANDS: Signatuur
UNITED KINGDOM: Oneworld Publications

Foreign covers

About author

Jussi Valtonen

Jussi Valtonen (1974) is an author and psychologist from Helsinki. He has studied neuropsychology in the United States and screenwriting in the UK, and has also worked as a science reporter. He has written three novels and a short story collection.

Carried by Wings (Siipien kantamat, Tammi 2007) was given second place in Bonnier’s novel competition, and received a warm reception from both critics and bloggers. In 2014 Valtonen was awarded the Finlandia Prize, the country’s highest-profile literary award, for They Know Not What They Do (He eivät tiedä mitä tekevät, Tammi 2014).

Bibliography


2014, Literary Fiction

Jussi Valtonen

They Know Not What They Do