A big thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours and Orenda Books for inviting me to take part in the tour for Finnish writer, Antti Tuomainen’s new book Little Siberia. Thanks also for the advance review copy that was provided in readiness for the tour. After reading the blurb I couldn’t wait to get stuck in!
Title: Little Siberia
Author: Antti Tuomainen
Publication date: 17 October 2019
Fargo meets Nietzsche in this atmospheric, darkly funny thriller by the critically acclaimed author of The Man Who Died and Palm Beach Finland. A huge Finnish bestseller, Little Siberia topped both literary and crime charts in 2018, and has gone on to sell rights in 24 countries.
A man with dark thoughts on his mind is racing along the remote snowy roads of Hurmevaara in Finland, when there is flash in the sky and something crashes into the car. That something turns about to be a highly valuable meteorite. With euro signs lighting up the eyes of the locals, the unexpected treasure is temporarily placed in a neighbourhood museum, under the watchful eye of a priest named Joel.
But Joel has a lot more on his mind than simply protecting the riches that have apparently rained down from heaven. His wife has just revealed that she is pregnant. Unfortunately, Joel has strong reason to think the baby isn’t his.
As Joel tries to fend off repeated and bungled attempts to steal the meteorite, he must also come to terms with his own situation, and discover who the father of the baby really is.
The book is basically a mystery story surrounding a meteorite which, after landing in the small Finnish village of Hurmavaara, is being temporarily stored in the local museum whilst awaiting collection by scientific authorities who intend to transport the item to London for testing. The meteorite is worth a significant sum – €1 million. A sum sufficient to make some of the locals wonder what impact that money could have on their lives.
Disillusioned military pastor, Joel Huhta, is the protagonist of the story. Married to Krista and expecting their first child, he should be a man looking forward to the future, however he has reached a bit of a crossroads in his life. He is questioning his position, his faith and even his marriage. His inner turmoil is a significant part of the story. The appearance of the meteorite and the madcap capers of some would-be thieves seems to lend Joel a sense of purpose, if only temporarily. Paranoia sets in as Joel realises that the most likely suspects are the 4 men who are helping Joel to guard the meteorite.
Whilst not being particularly fast-paced, the tale is extremely compelling. Swinging between action and introspection, there is something about the story which draws you in. There is a starkness, arising from a combination of the cold, icy setting and Joel’s emotional isolation, which lends itself to the tale. Given the setting, the book does have some obvious ‘Nordic Noir’ traits, however, as with Tuomainen’s previous books, there is a vein of dark humour running throughout that is not so typical of the genre. The humour adds a lightness to the tale. I’ve seen the book described as ‘Fargo-esque’ and I can understand the comparison in view of the clumsy criminal goings-on (I won’t say any more in case I give too much away, but one scene where Joel follows the thieves to a cabin is quite something!).
Despite the humorous tone, there are some dark themes explored in the book. As in any small remote town, everyone knows each other and there are secrets and tensions simmering below the surface. No one is quite as they seem. Everyone is a suspect. Is there anyone Joel can really trust?
Little Siberia is a great mix of humorous crime caper/heist combined with a serious look at loss of faith, trust and forgiveness. A unique, funny and poignant tale and, ultimately, a brilliant read!
About the Author
Finnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. In 2011, Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. Two years later, in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died (2017) became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards. Palm Beach Finland (2018) was an immense success, with The Times calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’.
Website/social media links:Website: http://www.salomonssonagency.se/antti-tuomainenTwitter: @antti_tuomainen
You can follow the other stops on the blog tour, or catch up with previous stops, by visiting the blogs listed below:
PRAISE FOR ANTTI TUOMAINEN
‘ Told in a darkly funny, deadpan style… The result is a rollercoaster read in which the farce – there are some wonderful car chase sequences, as well as deadly slapstick involving samurai swords, saunas, lost clothes and corpse disposal – has some serious and surprisingly philosophical underpinnings… at times, extraordinarily poignant’ The Guardian
‘Right up there with the best’ TLS ‘Deftly plotted, poignant and perceptive in its wry reflections on mortality and very funny’ Irish Times
‘As delicious as it is toxic’ Sunday Express
‘A winner right from the first sentence … an offbeat jewel’ Publishers Weekly
‘A tightly paced Scandinavian thriller with a wicked sense of humour’ Foreword Reviews