$27.99 – Paperback / Text Publishing Co / Australia
New Finnish Grammar
Winner, Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize, United Kingdom, 2012 Short-listed, Independent Foreign Fiction Award and Best Translated Book Award, United Kingdom, 2012 Long-listed, European Book Prize, 2012
Translation by Judith Landry
New Finnish Grammar is an unforgettable tale of one man’s search for meaning and for identity amid the devastation of WW2.
One night at Trieste in September 1943 a seriously wounded soldier is found on the quay. With nothing to identify him, and having lost his memory and language, he is a mystery to the crew of the German ship that rescues him. The ship’s doctor, a Finn, identifies the name embroidered on the man’s jacket as Finnish. Taking him for a fellow countryman, he gradually teaches him to speak Finnish and eventually finds him a berth in an army hospital in Helsinki, from where he may be able to piece together his former life.
But the longer he spends in Helsinki, the less he feels at home; the more he learns of the Finnish language and rich history, the less familiar it seems; and by the time we learn his true identity, it’s too late.
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Angus Hyland, Angharad Lewis