Set in Australasia, this is the story of a young Finnish couple who have embarked on the hiking trip of a lifetime, with Heart of Darkness as their only reading matter. Conrad’s dark odyssey turns out to be a prescient choice as their trip turns into a tortuous thriller, with belongings disappearing, and they soon find themselves at the mercy of untamed nature, seemingly directed by the local kakapo—a highly intellegent parrot threatened with extinction. This is a skillful portrait of the unquenchable desire of Westerners for the pure and the primitive, revealing the dark side of the explorer’s desire—the insatiable need to control, to invade, and leave one’s mark on the landscape. But what happens when nature starts to fight back?
Johanna Sinisalo was born in Sodankylä, Finland, in 1958. She has studied literature and drama in the Tampere university. She has worked in the advertising and also as a writer in many Finnish tv series.
She became known in 1985, when seven of her short stories were published in genre magazines. Next year her stories were the top three in Atoroxes, a prize given to the best Finnish genre short story. She has won the prize seven times.
Her first novel was published in 2000 and it won the Finlandia prize for literature, most prestigious literary award in Finland.
Her short stories are published in The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy (Transit) and Year's Best SF (Baby Doll).
Sinisalo lives in Tampere. Her hobbies include astronomy, gastronomy, hiking, literature and graphic novels.
Picture by Joel Kujala. Creative Commons license.
An interview with Johanna Sinisalo by Seregil of Rhiminee