The first authorised biography of the influential Finnish Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
How did a little boy who was evacuated during the war grow up to become the president of Finland, one of the most widely known Finnish decision-makers on the international stage and a leading global figure in crisis resolution? How has Martti Ahtisaari managed to get people to achieve peace, and what lies at the core of his approach? And where does this man, who turns 74 this year, plan to go from here?
This book includes Ahtisaari’s own thoughts on the various stages of his life, and the Nobel Peace Prize recipient’s own voice emerges clearly throughout the book. In the course of writing this book, the authors conducted interviews with Martti Ahtisaari himself. They also spoke to many key figures who have worked very closely with him, along with family members and friends from Finland and abroad. The result is a vivid, exciting and complex portrait of one of the great figures of our era.
Katri Merikallio is a journalist with Suomen Kuvalehti, a weekly news magazine. She is also the author of How to make peace: Ahtisaari and Aceh. Tapani Ruokanen is the author of numerous books and served as the editor-in-chief of Suomen Kuvalehti for many years.
As a translator, I generally think of “lyrical” as a dirty word. Even beyond the pretense that’s usually bound up in using language like that about a book (your own book?), translating poetry is generally a fool’s errand, unless you fully embrace what the *huge* limitations are. Every once in a while, though, a translation of something lyrical just works. This is a good story, and a beautiful thing to read. It feels true to life.
What else can one write about other than death or love? The narrator in the book is a 14-year old Mariia Ovaskainen, who hates writing. Nevertheless, she must tell us a story from 1986, when two things exploded: Chernobyl nuclear power station and Mariia’s own consciousness.
Mariia’s new class mate, Mimi, moves into a white house on top of the hill. Mimi is an odd girl, whose mother has committed suicide, and who is not interested in school. The story starts when Mimi meets Mariia on the beach and asks: “Could you pretend to be my friend, please?” Mariia promises to help her new mate to prepare for a retake of a Swedish exam to improve her grades. During the summer, the girls’ friendship deepens and turns into a love affair. But however deep the love, it cannot save Mimi, whose soul is weighted down by unbearable sadness. It is like a black hole into which all light disappears.
Light, Light, Light is a rosy love story about the budding sexuality of the main character, and about some difficult choices that she has to make at the age of 14. The painful themes of Mariia’s story jump at the reader both directly and between the lines and push the boundaries of storytelling.
An English sample is available
Here’s a little taste:
The famous Russian author Anton Chekhov recommended tearing up the first page of any story. He thought that the beginnings of stories were naturalism at its most ghastly.
Go ahead and rip it up. This is your book!
Or the library’s. However, the librarians will be understanding in this case.
If you feel like Mimi’s description was naturalism at is most ghastly, then go ahead and just start reading here.
Because now is when the action starts.
One more step and I shoot.
Go ahead and shoot.
I had lived in this village a whole hell of a lot longer than Mimi. She couldn’t order me around on my own home turf. She had just moved into the white house on the top of the hill and you can bet she was afraid every night. People who haven’t grown up in the country are always afraid.
I had come to the beach to loan her my Swedish book because Mimi had flunked and was headed to summer school.
Oh God, imagine getting held back first thing at a new school!
Mimi looked at me like people look at each other in old Clint Eastwood movies.
Shooting me full of holes with her eyes.
She loaded me up with her burning sorrow. And I didn’t budge. I didn’t walk away or stagger. When a person recognizes her future love, everything around her gets sucked into it.
And then they don’t have anything else. Besides the other person.
I stood there and accepted her rapid-fire light light light.
Until Mimi said:
Would you do me a favor? Could you act like my friend?
Acting is the KEY to this story.
Shove it in your pocket.
Abandon hope all ye who enter here! Unless you know the password.
KEYS open doors. Click! Soon you will discover secrets. Strings of accidents. Garret labyrinths.
Or at least you will think you have discovered them.
For example, in the white house on the top of the hill is a mother who puts on makeup and then puts on makeup again, even though she is dead. This mother creates dramas with eyeliner and eye shadow. Mimi hands her mother objects and her mother’s hands accept the objects. Face powder dusts the walls.
A universally weird intergalactic adventure that thrusts forward at hyperspeed and plunges readers into orbits of laughter!
The wildly fast-paced and utterly wacky series of adventures continues – this time, the brothers from Oddsville have a go at sci-fi. Tatu and Patu take off on an adventure across the universe – their mission is to defend galactic peace and perform other important feats of derring-do.
Tatu and Patu build their own spaceship for the trip. It’s not long before the interstellar adventure shuttle I.T.S. Bananas shoots up into the sky. Space cadet A.T.L. Antic and star pilot Styrox Box, also known as Mr. Cool, head towards the furthest reaches of the universe. As the boys are checking whether there is air in the rings of Saturn, something bright, fast, and incredibly huge crashes into them. The wings of their spaceship catch on fire and they just barely escape to the safety of the Star Union mother ship.
There, they encounter not only their greatly admired Ro-He, commander of the Star Union, but also an enormous problem: a state of emergency has been announced throughout the entire universe, because an immense, unknown destructive force is moving through the solar systems. Planets have disappeared, and all the orbits are completely out of whack.
With the help of Antic and Box and the little girl Ring-Da, the Star Union resolves its urgent problem, but they need a healthy dose of Tatu and Patu’s ingenuity and courage as well as little Ring-Da’s insights and a gigantic finger before peace is restored to the universe.
Tatu and Patu’s Adventures in Outer Space is the second book in the series Tatu and Patu’s Adventures. Tatu and Patu: Superheroes! kicked off the series to a fantastic reception, sparking comments such as: “Once more, Aino Havukainen and Sami Toivonen demonstrate a fine understanding of what works on little boys and girls – and older ones, too.” – kaks’plus