Publication date
September 2022
Format info
320 pages



Winner of the Ilkka-Pohjalainen Literary Prize 2023

A searing but tender novel about a dead father, exploring the search for a better life and addiction through Kurt Cobain, The Simpsons, and white trash by an author hailed as a young, Finnish Knausgård.

We are kittens raised by dogs.

Dad had no reason to drink, and he had every reason to drink. The world breaks- but also fills our hearts. He had his reasons, but they’re not mine.

I’m not Pete.

Thirty-year-old Ville is living his best life with a dream job, love, friends – everything in his life is perfect. But like a tattoo on the soul, his father Pete’s death troubles him and Ville is told that he looks and moves just like his father. Ville sets out on a quest to find out who Pete really was. Through the accounts of others’ memories of Pete, he pieces together a portrait of his absent father to realize that he is neither Pete nor an addict, with some surprising turns along the way.

Taking a deep dive into themes of humanity, addiction, The Simpsons, white trash, Kurt Cobain’s mind, family relationships
and the essence of who we really are, PETE is a tender and deeply philosophical novel about addiction, the search for a better life and a father who died in uncertain circumstances, told with a disarming openness, directness, and warmth. With his working-class roots and autobiographical and unflinching narrative that draw comparisons to Eduoard Louis’ Who Killed My Father, Verkkapuro showcases his raw talent in this, his acclaimed debut.


Finnish original
English sample translation 30 pp
Author letter
Editor’s note

Prizes, nominations

Helsingin Sanomat newspaper’s ‘Critic’s Choice of 2022’ selection
Winner – ‘Ilkka-Pohjalainen’ Literary Prize 2023
Nominee – Helsingin Sanomat newspaper’s Best Debut of the Year Award 2022


‘There is something irresistible about the writer’s sincere, jagged desire to say something. What is most telling about the novel is its deep empathy. The main character of the story doesn’t blame his parents for his broken childhood and his own addictions, putting love first.’ – ‘Ilkka-Pohjalainen’ Literary Prize jury

‘Western Helsinki’s Knausgaard’ – Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

‘The twists in the narrative are sometimes unexpected, and towards the end, the novel expands into an essay that deals with drugs, addiction and self-knowledge from perspectives that are fresh to the reader. Even as a novel, Pete is open to surprises and new forms, making it one of the year’s most inspiring debuts.’ – Helsingin Sanomat Debut Prize jury

‘A very good and even surprising book. It’s not an indictment, but rather a work full of love moving towards understanding and reconciliation. Thought- and feeling-provoking. Recommended!’ – Juha Itkonen, author

‘An impressive read.’ – Helmi Kekkonen, author

‘Verkkapuro has such strength as a narrator that I would like to read more works by him. A unique book which, in addition to being very much for our times, is also an excellent conversation-starter on a subject that is rarely spoken about – the defense of a sustainable, humane substance abuse policy.’ – Mitä luimme kerran blog, Finland