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PLACENTA OF GRIEF (working title)

Katriina Huttunen

  • Original Title: SURUN ISTUKKA
  • Publication date: January 2019
  • Publisher: Kustantamo
  • Country: FI
  • 327 print pages
  • Drama

Information

  • Epoch: Contemporary
  • Time Period: 21st century
  • Location setting: Finland
  • Themes: FAMILY, Maternity, Mourning, PEOPLE facing life, Life change, Death, Facing failure, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Psychological dysfunction, Exile

Pitch

Autofiction about the narrator’s grief in the aftermath of her daughter’s suicide.

Comments

Debut novel.

Katriina Huttunen is a translator of Nordic literature into Finnish; among other works, she has translated Karl Ove Knausgaard.

Summary

The narrator, a translator like the author, is grieving her daughter’s death – she has committed suicide aged twenty-six. The daughter, who suffered from depression, collected all her prescription drugs at the pharmacy on two successive days. She didn’t leave any message. Nothing in her mother’s life will ever be the same. Grief has entered her life to stay. There is no consolation. Mother’s home is now in the cemetery; when she looks at the graves, she feels she belongs somewhere. That’s where she can be with her dead daughter, with her grief. Alongside her loss comes anger, accompanied by self-blame, rage, disappointment with herself and with others, fear, terror, shame, regrets, guilt. But the greatest of all is grief. And the centre of the profound grief holds a secret, the daughter, the child who is no more.
The loss also brings words. The woman starts writing and can’t stop. The narrator takes an unflinching look at life, death, herself and people around her. She reflects on the books and music that resonate with her in her current state, and on her ritual of keeping a candle lit on her daughter’s grave. She will never be without grief from now on; she is living only to grieve.

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