An absorbing novel about the summer when a young man acquires his first experience with working life, women and alcohol
The 17-year-old spends his summer days in a metal shop, following the activities and talk of burly men. The bustle is at times chaotic but the opinions are firm. To manage in this group, the assistant must get the hang of the metal workers’ tragicomic code of honour.
Uncertainty about the future colours the summer, but the evenings and nights are filled with legal and illegal undertakings. Delicate, difficult first steps must be taken in the realms of both love and sexuality. When his father has to go to the hospital, a message arrives that opens old secrets, and many things appear in a new light.
Men and People was shortlisted for Finlandia Fiction Prize in 2014. This is how the jury stated:
“Olli Jalonen’s pen is light, his hand relaxed. The end result, however, is authentic, realistic and deeply genuine. A young man’s summer includes all the earth-shaking stages involved in growing into a man – masterfully portrayed by Jalonen with a sensitive instinct. Jalonen is a wizard at observing external events via the internal movements of the soul.
The world of working-class men in the 1970s is recognisable in detail, with a thoroughly lived-in ordinariness and comicalness. We experience a time which is part of the nostalgic past in its attitudes, structures and characters, yet also eternal and unchanging. Jalonen’s novel is human, warm, understanding of people’s foibles, wise and impressively controlled right to the end.”
2014 shortlisted for Finlandia Fiction Prize
Foreign Rights Information
An excerpt in English is available
Published in Germany (Mare Verlag)