Publication date
April 2019
Format info
280 pages

The Master of Silence

Hiljaisuuden mestari

“There is no direct communication. There is always a filter in between. In this instance, it’s you.”

The Finlandia- and Runeberg Prize-nominated author of O returns with a dazzling, genre-defying novel that captures the zeitgeist of our time.

Following his meteoric magnum opus, O, Finland’s rockstar literary savant is back with comparable brevity, with an astonishing new work about people, the difficulties in communication, and the interest in things, outside of their ontological being. In the author’s own words, it is ‘like a detective novel in a coma’ – denoting the intrigue but absence of movement or procedure.

At midday, a twenty-something man is found dead in his office chair. Meanwhile, Herman Leorne is interviewing people for his Youtube channel, discussing the interestingness of things. Elsewhere, a mother with an eating disorder considers ending her life with an overdose of Botox. But how does all this tie-in to the significance of Sinatra’s My Way in karaoke history, stringent Subway™ staff training days, and iced coffee?

In its titular homage to Rimbaud’s reference to death, Liukkonen proves himself to be a seer of the big questions of the era, with influences of Foster Wallace and Mishima in evidence in this brilliant, new novel.

Reading material

English sample translation 59 pp.
Author – Editor Q&A video (in English)


“A Rabelaisian Danse Macabre. […] an incredibly fascinating, neurotic, and unique novel.” – Helsingin Sanomat

“[The Master of Silence] doesn’t feel like a secondary work, despite following Liukkonen’s mammoth novel O, which came in at almost 900 pages and was nominated for the Finlandia Prize. Its more concentrated form shows off Liukkonen’s humour as well as his ability to write quick, and absurd, cuts between chapters. The Master of Silence is a novel in its own right; one which is bought together by incorporating philosophy, a strong rhetoric and a unique worldview. At times defiant, The Master of Silence gives two fingers to a world that is too sanitised and politically correct: if you happen to run into reality, tell it that there’s no place for it here.” Jukka Petäjä / Helsingin Sanomat

“Enjoyable in the round.” – Etelä Suomen Sanomat

“Liukkonen is Finland’s David Foster Wallace — The Master of Silence akin to a deliciously-filled baguette. […] No one in Finland writes like Liukkonen…this is the most interesting, astounding, and intelligent novel of the spring.” – Aamulehti

“The language of Miki Liukkonen’s novel The Master of Silence is spell-bounding. Each of Liukkonen’s sentences is like a ride at Särkänniemi Theme Park. As well as being about obsessive people, The Master of Silence is about a stuffed baguette from an American fast food chain, its server’s training and the Interesting Things YouTube channel. Liukkonen’s story is absurd, in the most entertaining and joyous way. The Master of Silence does not require its reader to dedicate the same attention to it as Liukkonen’s O, which was 858 pages long. The Master of Silence has been compressed, by Liukkonen, to 350 pages.” – Aamulehti

“Liukkonen’s work captures the essence of our time, the weight of which many experience yet rarely understand.” – Keskisuomalainen

“Liukkonen is an unrivalled linguistic virtuoso who writes effortlessly flowing text full of fresh tropes – from where, who knows.” – Kaleva

“I read in admiration of Liukkonen’s giftedness.” Tuija Takala

“At the beginning of Miki Liukkonen’s third novel, the anonymous protagonist compares words to a weak rope bridge that people cross to reach one another, a gaping ravine beneath them. The Master of Silence is mostly made up of conversations people have with themselves and each other. Intense eruptions of speech are only seemingly arbitrary; the sentences are clear, and thoughts brim with energy. One of the book’s themes is bulimia, which comes across in its structure: the characters are greedy in their thoughts and ideas, which they purge in the form of words. Thomas Pynchon and David Foster Wallace are recognisably Liukkonen’s literary role models.” – Suomen Kuvalehti