Author(s)
Essi Kummu
Illustrator(s)
Publication date
2017
Publisher
Tammi
Format info
314 pages

So Long, Boys

Hyvästi pojat

A strikingly candid portrait of a woman whose life is thrown into turmoil

 

“Dear Reader,

This is not one of those stories where one reaches the end, and one has grown the while as an individual. This is a narrative where one slogs around the track, and at the finish line one has failed as a person and a parent, and is in need of a stiff drink.”

As the school summer holidays kick into gear, the atmosphere in the home of a writer from Northern Finland becomes charged, and not in a good way. There is a daughter who never stops talking and who demands undivided and boundless attention. Then there is the other daughter, who has stopped talking altogether, but who shouts and swears and rages and fills the household with her fury. And then there is their mother, the writer, divorced, who wants nothing more than to be left in peace, to read, and above all to write. And maybe somebody to love.

Yeah, right, men, and boys. There have been quite a few of them, some of them possibles, too, but each has had some fundamental flaw. One is cold when she wants warmth, another is always buzzing around her; a third, well, he just doesn’t float her boat any which way. These days, intimacy with any of them somehow feels just…wrong.

Hence the writer reaches a decision: “So long, boys. It was fun.”

And falls madly in love with a woman.

 

With its autobiographical style Essi Kummu’s fourth novel So Long, Boys is a candid and delicious description of a single-parent family, of teenage angst, life as an artist, the relationship circus, women, and the wrong sort of men.

 

Awards and nominations

2017 Shortlisted for Bothnia Prize

 

Reading materials

English sample
Finnish edition

 

Praise for the work

“Essi Kummu’s So Long, Boys takes a skillful, boldly open and humorous approach to parenthood, being a writer and falling in love. The work ponders what and how one can, must and should speak, touch and write. This autofictive novel is, in itself, public undressing at its best.” – Statement of the Bothnia Prize Jury

“A straightforward and fun read.” – Annelin lukuvinkit literary blog

“(…) this book hit me full on.” – Mari A:n kirjablogi literary blog

“Essi Kummu’s So Long, Boys is a delectable, fun and thought-provoking book. (…) In the story, the protagonist says goodbye to a former life and to people whom she may have genuinely loved, and falls in love with a woman. All of this happens with a feeling of warmth. Kummu plays around with autobiographical elements in a fascinating way.” – Nokian Uutiset newspaper

“(…) a gritty and maybe even a bit disjointed book, but one that feels very real.” – Hannan kirjokansi literary blog