A true-to-life, compellingly multi-layered novel about youth, dreams, and what happens when you live in a little town in the 1990s and you want to write.
A young man takes a summer job in a department store. He spends the evenings with his friends on the sunny shore of the lake, listening to the Doors and dreaming of a glorious future. At work he gets to know Vesku, a man nine years his senior. Vesku has money, and takes him out to restaurants and clubs. He even starts planning a trip abroad together. What is it he really wants?
Twenty years later, the young man has moved to a larger city and become a writer. Back in the little town where he grew up, a single mother named Päivi is still at work in the department store, fretting about what to do with her seventeen-year old son Santtu, who never leaves his computer.
Päivi takes a writing course and revisits the wild days of her youth. She remembers a boy who liked to write and worked with her for a summer. He wrote about Vesku, but Päivi thinks he lied shamelessly. Whose memory is true, and who has a right to talk about it? What happens when a person becomes a character and real life becomes the raw material of the written word?
Juha Itkonen seems to understand a dreaming teenager just as well as a middle-aged single mother who has no dreams left. But the best character of them all is a failed, tragicomic writer who must face his past and his future.
The ironic distancing helps, and Itkonen has got plenty of that. – Helsingin Sanomat
Seventeen is Itkonen’s most impressive work to date. (…) It deals with ethical issues that are characteristic of Itkonen; it snarls at reality and smirks at its characters. It is a love story, an adventure, an ethical and aesthetic polemic. – Turun Sanomat
The narration is compelling, and the plot forces the reader to sit up and take notice. – Me Naiset magazine
Foreign rights information
An excerpt in English is available.
Published in Norwegian (Oktober).