For fans of Tove Ditlevsen and Karl Ove Knausgaard, an enigmatic work of autofiction set in a time of leftist politics and criminalized sexuality.
Pirkko Saisio’s autofictional novel, in Mia Spangenberg’s tender translation, is a mesmerizing account of radical politics and sexual awakening in a series of farewells–to her mother, to the idealism of youth, to friends and lovers, and finally to her grown daughter. The novel embeds readers in a delirious Finland, where art and communist politics are hopelessly intertwined, and where queer love, still a crime, thrives in underground bars. But then one morning in 2002, on a remote island off the coast of Finland, the narrator Pirkko Saisio informs her publisher that she’s accidentally deleted her latest manuscript, The Red Book of Farewells. Playful and mysterious, The Red Book of Farewells is a work that stoically embraces the small revolutions of moving on.