Nominated by:

Helsinki City Library, Finland

Publisher of nominated edition:

Serpent’s Tail, UK

The Winter War

Philip Teir    

Translated from the original Swedish by Tiina Nunnally

On the surface, the Paul family are living the liberal, middle-class dream in Helsinki. Max Paul is a renowned sociologist and his wife Katriina has a well-paid government job. They live in a beautiful apartment in the centre of the city. But look closer and the cracks start to show. As he approaches his sixtieth birthday, the certainties of Max’s life begin to dissolve. His wife no longer loves him, and his grown-up daughters – one in London, one in Helsinki – have problems of their own. So when a former student turned journalist shows up and offers him a seductive lifeline, Max starts down a dangerous path from which he may never find a way back. Funny, sharp, and brilliantly truthful, Teir’s debut has the feel of a big, contemporary, humane American novel, but with a distinctly Scandinavian edge.

About the author

Finland-Swede Philip Teir is considered one of the most promising young writers in Scandinavia. His poetry and short stories have been included in anthologies, including Granta Finland. The Winter War is his first novel. He is married with two children and lives in Helsinki, Finland, in the same neighbourhood as the Paul family.

Librarians’ Comments

The Winter War, Teir’s first novel, offers a clever and slightly satirical view on marriage and family life in a well-to-do Helsinki family. During some winter months Max and Katriina’s middle-class dream begins to dissolve and their life together reaches a crisis point. The first mistake is when they freeze their grandchild’s hamster, but it surely is not the last.

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