09 / 2014
130 x 210 mm
General Fiction
Published by:
Juha Itkonen


A woman, a boy, and an escape

“I thought about the autobahns stretching out before me. Four- or six- or even eight-lane monster highways, all those Benzes and Audis and Beemers that would soon be rushing past going two hundred. I clenched the wheel, I looked at my hands, and to me they didn’t look like hands in which you could place a human life.”

2013. A beautiful, successful mother leaves everything behind and flees. She races down the autobahn in her BMW, her son in the back seat. The only thing keeping her sane is the thought of escaping. There is no turning back.

1966. A young man with a dream and a guitar. A life of playing, of waiting. There’s his mother, sitting at the wheel of a car for the first time. Hands trembling, she forces herself, because staying put is not an option. How can everything fall apart in an instant?

They’re headed for the unknown. And before the time for amends can come, they must plumb the deepest depths of sorrow.


Press quotes

Bold Drive [Ajo] is an intense document of the human mind and private experiences. As if the pain of parents who have lost their child were recorded in the tale’s images as numb impressions.… [The novel] leaves a strong impact. – Hämeen Sanomat

 As always, Itkonen skilfully moves between times and places as he tells parallel stories and quickly wraps the reader in the draw of all the story lines. The draw lies not only in the interest of the individual tales but also in speculating about how they are linked together, where they are separate and what they share. – Etelä-Suomen Sanomat

 Drive is a sure-handed achievement of an experienced writer. – Helsingin Sanomat

Itkonen powerfully and movingly writes out the differences between sexes: the different ways in which the mother and the father face this great loss with their respective sensibilities. Itkonen does not pick his characters apart to affect the reader but instead subtly depicts their acts and deeds… Strong themes, multi-layered analogies and the graphically impressive details – especially in the depiction of the 1960’s – make Drive a resounding read. Itkonen is extremely skillful at building characters; his narrator’s voice is deeply touching. – Turun Sanomat

The distinguished author has written a novel about sorrow that reaches over generations. Most importantly, however, it depicts two powerful love stories. Itkonen is a masterful portrayer of the sore points of human relationships such as the difficult feelings that are part of being a parent. – Me Naiset

Foreign Rights Information

An excerpt in English will be available