Author(s)
Meri Valkama
Illustrator(s)
Publication date
2021
Publisher
WSOY
Format info
556 pages

Yours, Margot

Sinun, Margot

A fascinating debut novel about the fragility of memory and the power of silence.

In the early 80’s, Markus Siltanen moves his family to East Berlin and becomes a foreign correspondent. Vilja, his daughter spends her childhood immersed in the East German way of life, and thinking, until the family eventually returns to Finland. Over time, Vilja’s memories of her childhood dissolve, much like the country itself, into nothingness.

In 2011, after her father’s death, Vilja finds a bundle of letters from someone called Margot with whom her father had a passionate affair in Berlin. Vilja makes a decision to track Margot and returns to Berlin. The transformed city still bears some memories for her but the most important pieces seem to be missing. Her search for Margot, rips open everything she thought she knew about her parents and her childhood.

Vilja’s quest to unearth the truth about her family’s past progresses like a thriller but is most aptly categorised as intelligent narrative fiction alongside the novels by Ian McEwan and Sarah Waters. Yours, Margot evolves into a narrative about the demise of an ideology and a great love story. It is also an elegy of the victims of both.

YOURS, MARGOT is more than just a book you should read right now, it is one of those novels that captures why we should read at all.

Prizes, nominations

2021, Winner of the Best Debut of the Year Prize 2021

Praise

’I am amazed by Meri Valkama’s abilty to connect an entire nation’s right to its past to a clock-ticking plot about an individual discovering her true self. The volume of pages is enormous, but not at all too much. (…) [This novel] appeals to the emotions and should be translated into other languages immediately.’
Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

’A daughter finds secret clues from the GDR. Meri Valkama’s novel combines individual people’s little life with a great narrative.’
– Turun Sanomat newspaper

’Valkama’s novel has an unusual twist.’
– Hufvudstadsbladet newspaper

‘Meri Valkama’s arresting novel is a powerful social commentary: it reveals society’s meaning for the individual. A framework amid which we live our lives: fall in love, suffer disappointment, marvel at time’s passage, and tell a story about ourselves. We write letters, dream, desire to be alone and connected with others. History vanishes, memory frays, and amid all this is the individual and their unique life. Yours, Margot tells about this, about life, memory, and history, and does so in a way that makes us see each other beautifully. This is what we are like.’
Anna-Riikka Carlson, Publisher, WSOY