cover image The Winter War

The Winter War

Philip Teir, trans. from the Swedish by Tiina Nunnally. House of Anansi (PGW/Perseus, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $16.95 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-4870-0044-8

Finland-Swede Tier has been lauded for his poetry and short stories, so it comes as no surprise that his 2013 debut novel has been translated into English. The book—titled after the war fought between Finland and the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1944 and was “the best of all wars so far, because both sides ended up the victors” —tells the story of how Max and Katriina Paul’s marriage dissolved. Populated with interesting incidental characters and laced with dark humor, this domestic drama is set in present-day Helsinki and spreads from there to rural Finland, London, and the Philippines, aptly limning the global nature of 21st-century life. This backdrop offers the author space to ruminate on everything from how feminism has changed since the 1970s to the nature of interpersonal relationships. The strength of this novel lies in the disparate voices that Tier elucidates so skillfully throughout the novel; from a fading academic’s anxieties about his stalled career to a young art student who becomes embroiled in the Occupy movement, Tier sympathetically and accurately depicts the anxieties that plague adults young and old in the postmodern Western world. [em]Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (Mar.) [/em]