#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2019
Day thirteen in my #bookvent countdown and it’s unlucky for some, quite probably the protagonist in this latest offering from an author whose books I love. Full of darkly comedic storytelling, this author can take you from eww to teehee in a matter of moments. This time around we are faced with a story which has as much emotional depth as it does humour, set in a remote community that is driven by the same thing that motivates a million other people to make very dubious, in this case deadly, choices – money. Another classic from the man described as the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ my day thirteen bookvent choice is:
Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen
A man with dark thoughts on his mind is racing along the remote snowy roads of Hurmevaara in Finland, when there is flash in the sky and something crashes into the car. That something turns about to be a highly valuable meteorite. With euro signs lighting up the eyes of the locals, the unexpected treasure is temporarily placed in a neighbourhood museum, under the watchful eye of a priest named Joel.Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books
But Joel has a lot more on his mind than simply protecting the riches that have apparently rained down from heaven. His wife has just revealed that she is pregnant. Unfortunately Joel has strong reason to think the baby isn’t his. As Joel tries to fend off repeated and bungled attempts to steal the meteorite, he must also come to terms with his own situation, and discover who the father of the baby really is.
Transporting the reader to the culture, landscape and mores of northern Finland Little Siberia is both a crime novel and a hilarious, blacker-than-black comedy about faith and disbelief, love and death, and what to do when bolts from the blue – both literal and figurative – turn your life upside down.
This is a story about family, faith, trust, greed and forgiveness. Full of the Fargo-esque humour we have come to know and love it begins in dramatic fashion, a high speed chase to an end that only one man can understand, in an opening chapter which turns everything for the small community of Hurmevaara on its head. Who knew that guarding a meteorite could be such a challenging and hazardous pastime, but as Pastor Joel finds to his detriment, having such a valuable artifact in the town’s midst brings out all the crazies, and not just outsiders. I love the way in which the author establishes both setting and character, making you feel that you are right there in frozen Finnish landscape, faced with a town full of people who want to lay claim to something which isn’t rightfully theirs. Throw in some heavyweight characters, keen to make their millions from the space rock and we are set for a highly charged and volatile situation, one which contrasts to the very nature of the book’s sleepy setting. So many hapless moments to make you smile and yet the story is full of poignant moments that will make you pause, told in the reflective way that the author excels at. I really liked the character of Joel, felt for his plight and the way in which his circumstance caused him to question his faith. And the quirkiness of the town’s other residents really made this a story I was completely hooked to, perhaps the most Fargo like of all the stories to date. Top stuff.
You can read my full, rambling, review here.
Happy #bookvent reading all