Episodic novel of people in the swirls of recent history
Czech truck driver Toma picks up a young hitchhiker, Johannes, with whom he experiences an unforgettable sight on the road. Years later, Johannes, lying on his sick bed, gets the miraculous ability to see the invisible and into the future. Viktor, a Hungarian, travels to a party conference in Berlin and meets there a young Dutch girl Eline. At the same time something irreversible is happening in Gornje Obrinje in Kosovo. What if Viktor could change the fate of the Kosovan village?
Emma Puikkonen’s novel plays with the idea of life suddenly taking a different turn and changing the course of events. The twists of the recent past and the turns of everyday life of ordinary people intertwine. Each episode contains something surprising and unexpected, which for a short moment makes the reality look different.
2017 Shortlisted for the Torch-Bearer Prize
2016 Shortlisted for the Finlandia Fiction Award
“Emma Puikkonen’s novel consists of fleetingly interlinked episodes that are set in the recent European history. Individual human fates intertwine with major world events, reminding us of the fact that things do not happen “somewhere else”. We share a common world. The encounter between a Czech truck driver and a Swedish backpacker in the 80’s, a football match between Serbia and Albania in Belgrade, the life of Fadumon, a Somalian in Stockholm, and a shooting in a Dutch reality tv show during the Icelandic volcano eruption are all components of this magic-realistic story that leads the reader to the year 2027. European Dreams is an effective and gripping read.” – The Finlandia Fiction Award Jury
“European Dreams is a necessary reminder that Europe is far from a haven of peace. Wars, violence, natural disasters and refugee crises are part of everyday life in Europe. These will also affect the lives of following generations. Today, therefore, has the makings of tomorrow – whether we want it or not. – – Puikkonen’s writing is addictive. First, the handling of time is skillful. The reader is more or less familiar with the time span in which we are moving, and that is why the chapter headings, the years, tell a lot. Destinies of people and peoples are skillfully anticipated – -. Puikkonen has made the horrible stories we know from the news into stories of individual people. She fortunately still has the freedom of an author to see into the shadows. An author’s duty is to be the conscience of the evil world. Violence and the virtual world have made the readers numb and they need a good shake: dear European, do think that you are involved in all this.” – Helsingin Sanomat newspaper
“The concept of the work is excellent: aligning Europe with a novel. They both consist of unexpected conflicts, crossings of stories.” – Aamulehti newspaper
“Emma Puikkonen’s third work is a peek into the recent history, present and future of Europe. The fates of individual people get linked to turns in Europe’s history; the events on macro and micro levels tied into surprising images. Puikkonen wakes us and asks the question: what would have happened if some of us had acted differently? What kind of Europe would we then live in?”- Kymen sanomat newspaper
“A strikingly topical work that shakes the reader. Puikkonen creates a nightmare without forgetting a spark of hope. One of the most memorable reading experiences of this year. The fragmented structure of the novel illustrate aptly the shattering Europe.”- Kymen sanomat newspaper