2013 West of Galtby
 
orig. Galtbystä länteen

In 1947, the Fetknoppen island in the Western Finland archipelago is living the post-World War II reality. A new life is dawning for the 18-year-old Karen, who throws herself into the dance swirls of the local assembly hall as if there were no tomorrow. The brother she admires, Sebastian, has returned home following his studies and the war. Passion and a promise of a better future hovers in the air until, on next morning, a body of a young woman floats ashore. The whole island seems to know who is to blame: Sebastian. Before the trial, he dies and is found hanged in his cell. The only one who believes in his innocence is Karen.

Sixty-five years later Karen packs her things into a 1956 Plymouth Fury and decides to leave her son’s house, where she has lived for the past years. Amidst her escape, she is caught between a service station robbery and picks up one of the two robbers, the heavily pregnant, 17-year-old Iranian girl Azir. A flimsy, necessary bond forms between the two women, for neither of them can make the grade without the other. And Karen doesn’t have much time. She must prove that Sebastian was no murderer.

Leena Parkkinen has written an engaging novel that does not lack plot twists. As the story progresses, the reader gets to face the deeply buried secrets of both Karen’s and Azar’s families. Parkkinen’s novel is not a traditional murder mystery. It is an addictive study about being an outsider and different, as well as a tale about the saving power of sisterhood and friendship.

Parkkinen rose to the literary spotlight in 2009 after winning the Debutant of the Year award of Helsingin Sanomat for her novel, After you, Max. The reader will not be disappointed with the new novel, either, as it seals Parkkinen’s place in the star ensemble of Nordic literature.

Reviews:
"A wonderfully entertaining novel that readers will love for its wit and wisdom. "
Donna, edition 10/2014

"Leena Parkkinen has written a lively, spirited novel about two strong women and their incredible friendship [...] fantastic scenes, fabulous dialogue!“
Maxi, edition 9/2014

"An older woman, a pregnant teenager, a light-blue vintage car and a murder 65 years in the past – add up to what? Finland's most turbulent and wonderful novel about friendship!"
Grazia, edition 40/2014

" … a very readable story […] the journey of two unusual female protagonists, a voyage back in time and a complex family history." Die Presse am Sonntag 5.10.14

"A road trip brimming with charm, and with a gripping finale." Kleine Zeitung 5.10.14

"Leena Parkkinen is one of the leading lights in the new generation of Finnish writers. In her exhilarating road novel "West of Galtby" she makes an 83-year-old woman the heroin of the story. [...] realized in a very original, fresh style." Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung 2/3.10.14

"A fantastic novel filled with humanity and plenty of excitement and drama. The interplay between the two protagonists – who could not be more different from one another – is brilliantly conceived. A joy to read, from the opening page to the very last." Ruhr Nachrichten/Dortmunder Zeitung 25.8.14

"The Finnish author Leena Parkkinen has managed to pack a lot of humour into her latest novel – but also plenty of emotion. […] "West of Galtby" is a story that you simply can't help falling in love with." literaturmarkt.info 25.8.14

"A fabulous road movie in book form!“ Ostfriesen Zeitung 29.8.14

Publishers:
Finland, Teos
Germany, LImes (Random House)
Poland, Swiat Ksiazki