2011 Whorestory
 
Whorestory is a debut novel that breaks genre boundaries. It hovers between conventional fiction, pornography and chick lit, and is unashamedly over the top in every respect. It raises the middle finger on behalf of all those who have been treated unjustly because of their gender, sexual orientation or social status. First and foremost, the book is a description of how woman was created.

Whorestory consists of many overlapping fragments in a story. The main characters in the story are humans, Milla and Kalla. In addition, the book features a variety of gods and goddesses from antiquity, of which Aphrodite has been given a prominent role. The story starts with Aphrodite seducing a handsome young Adonis at a bar and falling in love with him. Unfortunately Aphrodite’s other lover, the god of war Ares, does not approve of Adonis, and kills him. Whilst looking for Adonis in the land of the departed, Aphrodite gets lost, and instead of finding hell she ends up in Helsinki. This is where she meets Kalla and Milla.

Milla is a young woman who decides to discontinue her failing studies and look for a job instead. She is offered a job of cleaning and gutting fish. She is also discovers a company that offers her up to two hundred euros per hour working as a prostitute. Milla realises that, by becoming a prostitute, she can make a lot of money in a relatively easy way.

Milla’s neighbour is a waitress named Kalla. Kalla is followed from a restaurant by a man who rapes her. When Kalla later sees the man again, he convinces her that he is a really nice guy, and asks for another opportunity to prove it. Kalla believes him, but the man ends up raping her again. Kalla kills the man, but cosmic justice further punishes him: the man is reassembled, brought back to life, and given to Kalla as her husband. When Kalla loses her job at the restaurant, she also becomes a sex worker, at the recommendation of her friend Milla. Kalla considers selling sex humiliating, so she looks for work elsewhere, and ends up as a cleaner. Unfortunately cleaning is, if possible, even more humiliating than prostitution is, and it proves to be Kalla’s undoing.

Whorestory describes violence against women, but also likens violence perpetrated by men to breeches of animal rights. Despite the weighty subject matter, the novel's text is light to read: the author combines everyday realism, Greek mythology and fantasy to create a merry mix. The novel is strongly polemic, but it challenges the reader to think. Whorestory would not be a fantasy story, were it not for the happy ending.

Reviews:

Whorestory is a really clever book. Or fairytale. A clever feminist fairytale, perhaps I should add. Whorestory attacks with gusto against the world’s misogynism, but makes fun of it at the same time, masking the scenes into unfinished, amusing jokes. This approach, if anything, is clever: the jokers cannot be belittled or nullified - they have done it themselves already." Turun Sanomat

”This book speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves. Whorestory is a novel that I would like to recommend to every passer-by, not because it deals with a heavy subject, but because it happens to be exceptionally amusing.” Aamulehti

”Gustafsson writes fluent and dynamic story that contains a lot of word play and inter-textual punning. Despite the weighty content, the author does not overdo crudeness. The most horrifying things in the book are their reality, they occur every single day.” Kiiltomato

Whorestory is an interesting mixture of elements: It is educational and funny, but also tragic. The message can be lifted straight from the novel: 'The fight for women's rights is our common fight. We have the duty to fight for our sisters and to oppose oppressions.'" Helsingin Sanomat

Rights sold:
Finland, Into
Germany, Heyne HC
France, Grasset & Fasquelle