2015, Things that fall from the Sky
 
orig. Taivaalta tippuvat asiat

Selja Ahava’s novel is a stunning narrative that explores the unexpected and inexplicable nature of reality. A triptych of voices weaves together an array of human attempts to force life into logical chains of events.

On a sunny summer day, a block of ice falls from the sky and kills a woman on her home veranda. Her story is brutally cut short, and her 8-year-old daughter Saara is left motherless. After the tragedy, Saara and her father move in with their lottery-winning Auntie. Not long after, Auntie wins the jackpot for a second time and falls into a deep three-week sleep. When she wakes up, she is struck by questions: why me, why again, what next. She decides to contact a Scottish fisherman who has been hit four times by lightning and asks for his advice. Their correspondence starts an archive of chance and coincidence. After four years, Saara and her father move back to their old house with father’s pregnant new partner. The house, where renovations never got completed, comes back to life and carries its own seeds of secrets.

The novel gracefully combines ordinary with radically absurd, beauty with violence, fairy tales with strange facts about objects falling from the sky. Ahava tells about pain and loss in flowing prose with a voice that is both powerful and effortless.

Pages: 222

Publishers:
Finland, Gummerus
Germany, mare verlag
Denmark, Jensen & Dalgaard
Bulgaria, Colibri
Hungary, Typotex
Lithuania, Homo LIber
Macedonia, Magor
Serbia, Strik
Ukraine, V. Books – XXI

Reviews:

"The premise underscores the arbitrariness, absurdity, excess, and fatefulness of life. It is so unsettling that it makes you laugh. That is Ahava's intention. These are all aspects of life that are true and recognizable. Through overstatement and juxtaposition, Ahava succeeds in depicting the human mind, for which any unexpected change can be disastrous, can throw one off the rails, or at the very least force one to reflect on existential questions."
- Helsingin Sanomat

"Selja Ahava has a rare ability to write intelligently about inexplicable things like fate, luck, and misfortune. And she writes about grief more sensitively than anyone has in a long time."
- Me Naiset

"Delightful to read, disturbing to interpret."
- Aamulehti

"Although the novel's subjects are painful and weighty ones, there is much warmth and tenderness in the telling, and in the child's innocence and clear-sightedness there is also humor, joy, and human potential, in spite of her sorrows."
- Parnasso

"Stories help us parse our lives; they bring us happiness and consolation. Selja Ahava's novel comprises the stories of several individuals who share a random, improbable experience. The reader is given space to form their own interpretations of the author's texts, which are at times frankly fantastical. The book deals with weighty subjects in a very unconventional way, making use of distancing and humor. In this she is quite successful. The little girl's story, in particular, has a narrative voice that is both ebullient and exceedingly touching. Selja Ahava's writing is fresh, her ideas rousing and inspiring." Statement from the Finlandia Literary Award committee

"Selja Ahava's Things that Fall from the Sky is a story of coincidences that change the direction of a person's life, from joy to sorrow, from luck to loss, or from ordinary mundanity to incomprehensible wealth. One of the narrators is a child whose mother dies unexpectedly. Ahava depicts the grief, longing, and love that the child experiences effectively, but avoids sentimentality. The novel points out the absurdity and randomness of life, but also its continuity. The fairy tale the mother tells is left forever unfinished, but her unresolved story symbolizes not only sadness, but also hope." Tulenkantaja Prize Jury Statement