Winner of the 2009 Finlandia Prize for Literature.
A man builds a brick oven and ponders life. Events come and go, the bricks rise and remain. “He started to remember a model, an oven in the Hökkä’s cabin. It was nearly a meter high on the interior, of arching bricks, with an outlet for the flames in the back corner. The vents came forward at the top and then down the sides and then turned at the bottom toward the back wall and then from the back to meet in the middle of the oven and the current rose at the centre of the top of the oven, coming forward into the chimney that led from the brow of the oven
up to the roof.”
Summer comes. Although the oven is finished, the building continues. It’s about life, its continuation, permanence and transience. About the grasp of life that comes from doing.
Award-winning author Antti Hyry, one of our most esteemed writers, published his breakthrough novel, He Started from the Highway, in 1958. His 1999 The Granary was a nominee for the Finlandia Prize.
The Oven is Hyry’s tenth novel.
Antti Hyry’s texts have been published in thirteen languages, by Hinstorff
(Germany) and Bonniers (Sweden), among others.
(From the Otava Rights Guide)
In Hyry’s novel, the reader’s interest is not directed to a plot or character portraits. There are no dramatic turning points in this description of the construction of a baking oven. On the surface, Hyry’s writing is reminiscent of the kinds of modernists who build their texts on simple perceptions of the world of objects in order to emphasize incompleteness in their sketches of the world. Instead, the person in Hyry’s book is taking concrete steps to establish a home in the world. His tasks gain their significance from the meaningful places of life in its entirety. This portrait of everyday life thus opens out into a cosmos where the central character is living the life he was meant to live.