01 / 2006
140 x 220 mm
General Fiction
Published by:
Riikka Pulkkinen

The Limit

How far would you go for the one you love?

A stunning start for a literary career, a critically and publicly acclaimed debut of one of the most beloved and acclaimed Finnish writers of today.

Anja Aropalo is a 53-year-old literature professor whose husband suffers from early Alzheimer’s disease. She swore to help him die once he begins to lose his memory, but struggles with her promise and doesn’t know when to step in. After attempting suicide herself, she realizes that her promise cannot be kept.

Meanwhile, her 16-year-old self-mutilating niece, Mari, blossoms as she falls in love with her Finnish teacher. But when he tries to end their affair, she starts cutting herself again. The passionate love between the student and teacher is witnessed by the innocent eyes of the elder’s 6-year-old daughter.

The author elegantly weaves these characters and their tragic stories, showing how different generations struggle with life while also trifling with death. In vivid, incandescent prose, Riikka Pulkkinen reveals how our limits can show us who we really are.

The original Finnish version was published by Gummerus Publishers in 2006.

A play based on The Limit premiered in September 2012 in Oulu City Theatre, Finland, and the filming of a TV-adaptation came out in 2014.



2007 The Kaarle Prize (Gummerus Publishers)

2007 Laila Hirvisaari Literary Prize (The Bookseller’s Literary Prize)

2006 Shortlisted for the Helsingin Sanomat Literary Prize (the best first novel of the year)

2006 The most sold debut novel in Finland’s biggest book store (Academic Bookstore)


Press quotes

“One of the most intelligent philosophical novels in recent years.” – De Morgen, Belgium

“Great and disturbing; a pleasure to read.” – Berner Zeitung, Germany

“Anja, Marie and Annie are so realistic because Pulkkinen manages to bring them to life with all their doubts, anxieties and passions.… A vibrant, poetic debut that sounds out the borderlines between love and death.” – Bücher magazine, Germany

“Beautiful, filled with autumnal melancholy.” – Annabelle, Germany

“An elegant, tight, and true-to-life debut.” – Me Naiset, Finland


Foreign rights information

An excerpt in English is available.

Published in:

  • Armenian (Guitank)
  • Danish (Gyldendal)
  • Dutch / Netherlands (Arbeiderspers)
  • English / Australia (Scribe)
  • Estonian (Pegasus)
  • German (Ullstein)
  • Italian (Garzanti)
  • Swedish (Norstedts)

Rights sold:

  • Norwegian (Gyldendal Norsk)