This Transparent Heart

Katja Kallio

Original title: Tämä läpinäkyvä sydän

Author: Katja Kallio

Published: 2021

Publisher: Otava

Genres: Literary Fiction, Romance

Pages: 268

Reading material:

English sample and synopsis

A passionate novel about the forbidden love of a misfit woman and a Soviet prisoner of war

Young Beata returns home to war-torn Hanko in the winter of 1942. When she accidentally encounters a prisoner of war who sees directly into her innermost being, life changes irreversibly. Forbidden love puts Beata and Ivan at risk for their lives, but they can’t stay apart. In the moment of reckoning, Beata has to ask herself whether one can ever truly know their beloved - or even themselves.

A stirringly beautiful and intimate description of hatred and its only counterforce -  the connection between people.



In Katja Kallio’s beautiful novel young and wild Beata falls fervently in love with a Ukranian prisoner of war. Bellowing wartime Hanko stands as a background for marching Germans but there’s a slowly kindling spark of hope of reconstruction. The depiction of families returning to the ruined town of Hanko is touching and extremely interesting. The Russians had left the houses blue-painted, the flours were tainted with fuel oil and mines were hid in candelabras. Katja Kallio uses a language that is poetically fluid, and she has got the facts straight. After reading the book one has a burning need to start investigating the fates of Russian prisoners-of-war and the German camps. - Gloria Magazine, September 2021


’This Transparent Heart’ is an important and interesting work. The events take place in Hanko but the depiction of people as helpless victims under the everchanging power relations during the wartime is a universal theme and very true even today in different parts of the world. The book is strongly based on facts but the dreamlike narration and the poetic language elevate it into an overwhelming love story in which the end is tragic. - Annelin lukuvinkit blog

Katja Kallio writes sensual text, playing with metaphors that rush forward. The fluency of the narrative felt like a warm bath. Using metaphors in a generous way might feel complex and exhausting but Kallio’s style is very airy. – A novel full of intriguing themes. With this novel, Kallio strengthens her position as a novelist with a unique voice. - Kirjaluotsi blog

Katja Kallio’s language is so refined and effectively emotional that one’s heart beats faster for a long time after reading. – The story is filled with delirium, lust, fierceness, and impossible dreams – and on the other hand there’s hopeful romance in the ruins, interesting portrayal of people and powerful interpretation of emotions. The intensity holds its grip – eloquently seducing the reader!

-Arja Korhonen, Kulttuuri kukoistaa blog

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Rights sold:
FINLAND: Otava (orig.)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Albatros Media a.s. – KNIHA ZLIN


About author

Katja Kallio

Katja Kallio is a critically acclaimed bestselling author and screenwriter. Since her striking debut on the Finnish literature scene in 2000, she has described the life and faith of misfit women at odds with the community,  in modern and past times, with her distinctive voice and thoroughly visual style. Her new, much anticipated novel This Transparent Heart, available in Finnish in August 2021, tells the forbidden love story of a young Finnish woman and a Soviet POW during WW2. Her previous novel, Amanda of the Night, inspired by true events in a mental institution island for women, was received with unanimous praise. Her books have sold more than 180,000 copies.

Kallio is praised for her accurate portrayals of the human mind. In her six novels she revisits themes such as the constant push-and-pull between distance and intimacy in a person’s life and the meaning of passion as a barrier-breaking force.

She has written box office movie adaptations of her own novels, and been a candidate for national literary and motion picture awards, including the prestigious Jussi Award for the Best Screenplay. An ardent cinema lover, she has written about movies in the iconic Image magazine for more than fifteen years.

Before writing she worked as a publishing editor, and translated fiction from Italian, Spanish and English. She hosts her own live literary salon, speaks fluent Italian with a Roman accent, and dedicates her free time to classical ballet.


2021, Literary Fiction, Romance

Katja Kallio

This Transparent Heart