09 / 2012
140 x 202 mm
General Fiction
Published by:
Riikka Pulkkinen

The Book of Strangers

”One can set foot in a new land. The land will receive her. Yet she remains a stranger as she is a stranger unto herself, as long as she carries within her that voiceless unknown that bears no name.”

A gripping tale of the alienation that we carry within, from the internationally acclaimed breakthrough author.

Maria, a parish pastor, leaves her life in Finland behind and journeys to New York, wracked by a heated internal debate between responsibility and the need to escape. In New York, Maria meets a woman who opens the door to the world of dance. Step by step, she gains the courage to reflect on where she’s really from: that northern village where the repressive religious atmosphere nearly made her invisible, or some more distant place?

Eventually, Maria is also able to turn her gaze inwards. What is the secret she has borne with her across the ocean? What evil was done to that little girl who tried to make Finland her home, the girl whose diary Maria carries with her?

The Book of Strangers pulses with the restless rhythms of dance and the density of heavy, haunting night-time memories. Riikka Pulkkinen brings intelligence and all senses to bear in her treatment of alienation, religion, and corporality.

The Book of Strangers is a complex story of searching for one’s own truth and admitting one’s humanity – a journey during which we realise we are always a stranger to someone.


Press quotes

“Riikka Pulkkinen has written a strong, contemporary novel about the alienation of life.” – Helsingin Sanomat, Finland

The Book of Strangers is a very clever novel, and you can’t help but be drawn straight into its flourishingly created world.” – Turun Sanomat, Finland

“Riikka Pulkkinen creates ambitious reflections on humanity, with great deliberation and meticulous consideration.” – Aamulehti, Finland

“This author does not publish gap novels. (…) The Book of Strangers is as influential and complete as her earlier novels The Limit and True.” – Kainuun Sanomat, Finland

“Pulkkinen’s third novel is a brave change of direction and in many places a striking statement about alienation.” – Satakunnan Kansa, Finland


Foreign rights information

An excerpt in English is available.

Published in:

  • Danish (Gyldendal)
  • Dutch (De Arbeiderspers)
  • Norwegian (Gyldendal Norsk)
  • Swedish (Norstedt)

Rights sold:

  • French (Albin Michel)