A heart-breaking story about a group of Finnish women making their way back home after the war.
In late winter 1945, a small group of women are left on the border of Norway and Finland having been interned in a Norwegian POW camp with the German soldiers that they had followed up through Finland to the Artic Sea in the final days of the war.
With their heads shorn, the bewildered women wait to be repatriated to Finland as the German troops are shipped out of the port at Narvik—the same soldiers the women had followed up to the North for their own reasons: some fearing Soviet occupation, others for love, and then there were those who adopted the ideals of National Socialism out of fear or naïveté.
Wandering on foot through the charred remains of villages and towns of Lapland, the small group of women try to make sense of what has happened to them and what lies ahead of them.
Defiance is a rich and affecting novel about the far-reaching effects of the choices people make in wartime; about silent shame; what it means to lose your home, your country and your sense of identity by the Finlandia Prize-nominated author of The Place Where Four Roads Meet.
Tommi Kinnunen (b. 1973) is a Finnish language and literature lecturer from north-eastern Finland. His debut novel Where Four Roads Meet (2014) was a stunning critical and sales success, with translation rights sold to 14 countries within its first year. His second novel The Light Behind the Eyes (2016) was shortlisted for the Finlandia Fiction Prize in 2016 and immediately topped Fin-land’s bestseller lists. The Glass River (2018), his much-anticipated third novel, became a pre-publication bestseller. He lives with his family in Turku, Finland.
English sample translation 90pp
“Tommi Kinnunen’s DEFIANCE gives a voice to the women we’re not used to hearing from. Kinnunen is an extremely talented character writer; his characters are human and their development is authentic. As a writer, he changes perspective often, resulting in a multidimensional story. His female characters are neither criminals nor saints — and their stories aren’t oppressively moralising either… [Kinnunen] is a sensitive and skilful narrator with a rich command of language. DEFIANCE is a thought-provoking novel which exposes the reader to many points of view. Its message is important and its sense of humanity is deeply touching.” — Johanna Suominen, Etelä-Suomen Sanomat newspaper
“[Kinnunen describes] suspenseful events with a moving narrative and occasional outbursts or ribald laughter.” — Kaisa Kurikka, Turun Sanomat newspaper
“Kinnunen is often praised for his character writing. It’s easy to see why… Kinnunen’s novel stirred so many emotions in me that I felt tears prickling my eyes… DEFIANCE is a striking and touching novel.” — Terhi Marjakangas, Koillissanomat newspaper