Riku Korhonen
Publication date
Format info
445 pages

Doctor Novel


 A masterful depiction of love, death and politics

Doctor Novel
 tells the story of four entangled destinies at the frontier of an empire.

The end of the summer of 2003 is hot and intense in many ways, both politically and personally. In Iraq, Western troops are promising to guide its people to the path of democracy and capitalism. But, far away from these battles, in a Northern European coastal city, thirty-something university researcher Niklas spends much time drinking and worrying over his girlfriend Inna, whose father is dying of cancer.

One night, Niklas sees a vision that transforms him. He believes he has found a cure for the cause of his beloved Inna’s worries. But Niklas must face the fact that the consequences of his procedures aren’t always easy to foretell.

In his second, beautifully written novel, the Finnish author Riku Korhonen weaves together a memorable story of intertwined destinies, a gripping analysis of a media war and a subtly humorous imitation of a romance novel.

Doctor Novel established Riku Korhonen as one of the leading writers of his generation.


Rights sold

Albania (Fan Noli)
Bulgaria (Balkani, translated title: Медицински роман)
Czech Republic (Dauphin, translated title: Lékařský román)
Denmark (Turbine, translated title Lægeroman)
Latvia (Mansards)
Serbia (Kontrast)


Prizes and awards

2010 European Union Prize for Literature
2008 Kalevi Jäntti Prize for young authors


Reading materials

Finnish edition
English sample
English synopsis


Praise for the work

“Riku Korhonen’s new novel unfolds like a Greek tragedy.” – Helsingin Sanomat

“Here it is: an unapologetic Bildungsroman, dealing with difficult social questions, about the lives of thirty-something drifters. Korhonen conjures up a vibrant image of our times with brand names, songs, frustrating seminars and the ubiquitous powers of the internet. […] Whereas [Hannu] Salama’s characters decide not to love, Korhonen’s characters would like to love, but that’s just not enough. This emotionally charged novel makes extensive structural use of repetition and changes in perspective.”  – Aamulehti

“Korhonen’s depiction of the 21st-century young man is merciless, but in all its brutal revelation of self-centredness it is striking and searing.”  – Turun Sanomat

“Korhonen has a masterful use of narrative styles and skilfully combines many different elements in his novel. In its sheer abundance the novel does not give itself up all at once but blossoms gradually like a Russian classic. We could read Korhonen simply for his use of language – and what language it is.” – Suomen Kuvalehti

Doctor Novel […] crafts a metaphor about the medical profession in which the boundary between doctor and patient is blurred. Korhonen makes extensive, exquisite use of different genres and styles, but as a whole the work carries its content with fresh language and great originality.”  – Keskisuomalainen

Doctor Novel is a splendid polyphonic novel about Niklas, a thirty-something PhD student from Turku, caught between his grieving partner Inna, the stalling work on his doctoral thesis and his own memories. In its sheer length and variety, the novel is a refreshing departure from the minimalism favoured all too often by many contemporary authors. Such a sensitive and beautiful depiction of a young man’s love has not been seen in Finnish literature for years.”  – Etelä-Saimaa

“Riku Korhonen’s second novel takes the reader deep into the heart of the male mind. At the same time, Korhonen paints a powerful image of our times using a vibrant collage of different voices and perspectives.” – Uutispäivä Demari