Anja Snellman
Publication date
Otava Publishing Company
Format info
320 pages

Capital: A Requiem


I was infected as a child. Infected with Maru.

Maru was born on a warm but windy June afternoon, and she died on a warm but windy June afternoon. Official documents suggest that she had an uneventful life. She completed four years of elementary school and two years of middle school. She held the same job until she retired. She lived at four addresses, including a nursing home. No spouses, no children, no close friends. Cleft palate, rheumatoid arthritis, weak vision, cataracts.

Her death compels her little sister to examine the tapestry of her isolated life and our whimsical but ominously fateful genes. Why were the two sisters so similar, yet so completely different? In one of her most personal works, Anja Snellman rewrites her family history. She returns to Karelia, to the last days of the war and to life as a refugee. She revisits secrets and cruel silence: her parents’ disastrous marriage and her sister’s disability—a secret that could not be hidden but should never be discussed.

Capital is an arrestingly honest story about our heritage and our power to break free of a seemingly predestined fate and suffocating circumstances. It is a touching account of having the courage to grow and not let our fears and nightmares stifle our dreams.

When I study my genetic map and the colored dots that mark my vulnerabilities and opportunities, I think of it as my investment portfolio, my only one, given to me at birth. My startup capital. I still feel immortal on moving sidewalks at airports. I speed toward the gate, without taking a step, and I don’t know what is to come.


Rights sold

English (New Terrain Press)


Reading materials

English excerpt
Finnish edition