A dystopian YA masterpiece and the Winner of the Finlandia Prize for Children’s and YA Fiction in 2019.
In The Dark Side of the Sun, Marisha Rasi-Koskinen plays with the rules of time travel and dystopia. Using her background in psychology, she tells a touching and thought-provoking coming of age story.
The Dark Side of the Sun is a mysterious thriller about a young woman’s journey into her own history that’s filled with surprises. The YA novel, which involves time travel and is set an abandoned mining town, will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.
Emilia lives in an abandoned mining town with her grandfather. The summer room at the back of their garden has been locked for sixteen years – since Emilia was born and her mother died. The day Emilia finally enters the room, she finds an incredibly realistic-looking drawing – of herself. Emilia starts digging and eventually falls down a hole, which leads her to the mine’s terrible secrets as well as details about her own past. Emilia’s life changes forever when she dives into the black waters of the mine.
The Dark Side of the Sun is a mysterious story about time and memories, which treads the line between sci-fi and the puzzles of the theory of relativity. At the same time, it’s a fascinating adventure and a real thriller.
Marisha Rasi-Koskinen (b. 1972) is the Finlandia Prize-winning author of The Dark Side of the Sun. With a Masters Degree in Psychology, Rasi-Koskinen seamlessly weaves together narratives about dreams, reality and inner worlds. She won the 2013 Tiiliskivi Prize for novel Lies, with the jury praising the book’s ingenious structure, and rights to The Map of Going Astray sold to both Galicia and Spain. By combining rich narrative structures with relatable characters, Rasi-Koskinen ensures that readers continue to come back to her novels time and time again.
English detailed synopsis
English translation sample
2020, winner of the Blogistania Junior Prize
2019, winner of the Finlandia Junior Prize
“When it comes to writing time travel fiction, there are certain rules that pretty much every book, film and TV series follows – and if they don’t follow the rules, they certainly comment on them. You can’t meet your past self and you can’t change anything, else you’re likely to cause a butterfly effect which will affect the future in unpredictable ways. Marisha Rasi-Koskinen’s The Dark Side of the Sun confronts these rules and clichés by building a self-sustaining loop around the subject… In addition to its fluent narration and innovative plot, The Dark Side of the Sun deserves praise for Rasi-Koskinen’s beautiful and straight-forward language…
“As a psychologist, Rasi-Koskinen’s depiction of the movements of the human mind are fascinating to follow and Emilia’s actions are understandable, even when they’re silly… The Dark Side of the Sun, which has been nominated for the Finlandia Junior Prize, is Rasi-Koskinen’s fifth book; her fourth novel and the first that can be considered a book for young people. However, there’s no need to set an age limit on this book: the themes and the ways in which they are handled will speak to 45-year-olds as well as 15-year-olds.” – Helsingin Sanomat newspaper
“The theory behind the time travel element of the book is convincing and the plot takes many twists and turns. Moreover, the novel provides an interesting illustration of a totalitarian regime and gives insight into the reasons normal, sensible people forget about their own dreams and find themselves falling into extremism.” – Turun Sanomat newspaper
“This stunning story about the near future of the world and the power of the individual is, above all, a great work of literature, even though the novel’s protagonist is a 16-year-old girl and not a real adult.” – Kaisa Järvelä, Pohjalainen newspaper
“This year’s literature offering is only just getting started, but Marisha Rasi-Koskinenäs novel The Dark Side of the Sun is sure to be one of its best YA books.” – Outi Hytönen, Suomen Kuvalehti newspaper
“In the end, the book that stayed with us the most was chosen as the winner. The experience of reading this book is like having a long, psychedelic dream in which you often feel as though you’re awake, despite not being sure whether or not you really are. You have to pinch yourself. This book’s author bravely throws herself onto slippery ice, relying on her story’s clear and straight-forward language as well as its psychologically realistic descriptions of its characters. The end result is a gripping and thought-provoking dystopian fantasy that’ll stimulate your brain and, in spite of everything, leaves you with a glimmer of hope. As long as there are people who’ll stand out in a crowd to protest against injustice, there’s hope.” – Winning announcement of the Finlandia Junior Prize Jury, 2019
“An ambitious and multi-faceted novel that allows readers to travel through time and consider whether thinking about time in a linear fashion is the only possibility. This book deals with the concept of time intelligently, using great imagination and presenting the reader with surprising twists and turns until the very end. This book cleverly merges many different genres: it’s a book about time travel; a coming-of-age story; and a dystopia built upon a utopia. It’s a story about power and totalitarianism as well as the relationship between nature and man.” – Announcement of the Finlandia Junior Prize Jury, 2019
“Let me immediately say that I enjoyed reading The Dark Side of the Sun. Rasi-Koskinen writes beautifully and somehow lightly, even though the book is rather dark… Rasi-Koskinen’s plot is so stunning that its familiar landmarks serve as good grabbing points as the novel’s pace picks up. A wonderful book.” – Kujerruksia blog