We join the blog tour Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen, author of one of our favourite reads in 2018. But would Little Siberia match up to the glorious neon that was Palm Beach Finland?
Little Siberia – the blurb
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.
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.
Gone are the plastic flamingos of Palm Beach instead we are invited to winter in the middle of nowhere. A place for internal exhiles such as ex racing driver Tarvainen, washed up bar owner Karoliina and a priest named Joel. The story starts with the falling to earth of a meteorite that Joel takes it upon himself to protect. Where Tuomainen gets his ideas from I don’t know but they are always so original.
Cats and Mouse
We follow Joel through a game of cat and mouse with just about everyone wanting to join the clowder. Who wants the meteorite? Who is the father of Krista’s baby? As you are introduced to the town’s inhabitants you realise nobody is particularly likeable, yet you do find yourself routing for Joel to ‘win’. Bit by bit the pieces start to align and it becomes clear you’re in for a clever ending.
Little Siberia delivers a level of depth I’ve not yet seen from Tuomainen. The scenes between Joel and Krista in relation to the pregnancy in particular: “It seems that the turning points in our lives are always associated with a strange combination of the banal and the extraordinary…. a January evening, a lingonberry pie,… and the small matter of a confession that changes everything.” These little insights were common and elevated the deftly plotted, darkly funny, thriller.
For me the epilogue wasn’t needed. I think the ending would have made a much bigger impact if left alone, but that’s my one negative amongst a truck load of positives. I have no idea where Tuomainen will go to with his next book, but I for one will be there!