“There’s a treasure!” the girl shrieked, “I saw it, a pretty thing, glittering in the rocks.” The children are searching for treasure. The women lost theirs years ago.
Vera leaves behind a country where it seems like everything is up for sale and comes to Finland as the wife of Jaska, a farmer. But Elisabet, who lived through the war, can’t imagine anything worse than having a Russki daughter-in-law. Jaska mediates between the two women and his sense of resolve, while his daughter Anna escapes into a Disney fantasyland. Meanwhile, the family’s half-brother is lurking in the shadows, saying nothing yet seeing everything.
Both Vera and Elisabet have left things behind them that they’d like to forget. Love, guilt, forbidden feelings and the shame of the past linger in the dark corners of the dilapidated house. Vera and Elisabeth did not choose each one another, but they will not survive alone.
Of Stones and Silence is a powerful, lyrical story. It is a novel about love, loneliness and treasure that can only be found once you dare to let go of the guilt and sorrow that lie within.
Tiina Laitila Kälvemark (b. 1970) is a Stockholm-based journalist and writer, originally from northern Finland. Laitila Kälvemark’s debut work Lost Shore—a short story collection—was shortlisted for the Runeberg Prize in 2013. Her debut novel, Of Stones and Silence, was met with acclaim and shortlisted for the 2015 Tiiliskivi Prize. Laitila Kälvemark’s short-form fiction has been published in both English and German.
English sample translation 27pp
2016, Shortlisted for Finland’s Candidate for the Eurpean Union Prize for Literature
2015, Shortlisted for the Tiiliskivi Prize
2015, Shortlisted for the Toisinkoinen Prize
“The narration flows through the internal landscape of each main character like a current, picking up phrases and blending them into the detached storytelling. The work becomes charged with vitality, the language potent and beautiful.” – Marissa Mehr, Turun Sanomat newspaper
“Of Stones and Silence is a supremely evocative book. Tensions are strong when only the tip of the iceberg is visible – and all the more so with that which is buried and deeply hidden. How can a person ever escape that which she carries within?” – Kirjavinkit blog
“Of Stones and Silence is at its best when depicting the crushing inner landscapes of the women. When the mother-daughter relationship, which has never developed into a close one, is contrasted with a male child’s superiority in his mother’s eyes, we witness a hatred of mythic proportions. Such cultural observations, difficult to articulate in language, Laitila Kälvemark succeeds in expressing eloquently.” – Mervi Kantokorpi, Helsingin Sanomat newspaper
“The brief, fragmented, anachronistic narrative keeps the story ethereal and the characters enigmatic”. – Helsingin Sanomat newspaper
“Of Stones and Silence is a stunningly brilliant read. Laitila Kälvemark’s penmanship is splendid and her thoroughly refined narrative is a pleasure to read.” – Lukuneuvoja blog
“Of Stones and Silence is a brilliant novel, ingenious and definitely one of the top Finnish books of the year”. – Annelin kirjoissa blog
“Of Stones and Silence is the jem of family stories.” – Ullan kirjat blog
“Great emotions flow in Of Stones and Silence: guilt; shame and anger. Despite its domestic origins, the book is a great societal novel contemplating the position of women in different decades. The main characters stay with the reader for days. A brilliant read!” – Suvi Kerttula, Ilta-Sanomat newspaper