The Red Book of Farewells


Product Details

$24.95  $23.20
Two Lines Press
Publish Date
5.0 X 8.1 X 1.0 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author

Pirkko Saisio (b. 1949) studied drama and completed her actor's training in 1975. Her debut novel The Course of Life (Elämänmeno, 1975) won the J. H. Erkko Award. Saisio has been nominated for the Finlandia Prize seven times, winning it in with The Red Book of Farewells (Punainen erokirja, 2003). She has, among other awards, received Aleksis Kivi Prize and State Literature Award. Apart from novels, she has written numerous plays and scripts for film and television and is a well-known theatre director.
Mia Spangenberg translates from Finnish, Swedish, and German into English. Her work has been published in Finland and the UK, and appeared in journals such as LitHub and Asymptote. She holds a Ph.D. in Scandinavian studies from the University of Washington, Seattle, where she resides with her family.


Winner of the Finlandia Prize
Winner of the Aleksis Kivi Prize

"A beautifully rendered portrait of a strikingly queer life--Saisio troubles any distinction we might try to draw between the personal and the political, the remembered and the invented." --Morgan Thomas, author of Manywhere

"This Red Book of Farewells is also a book of welcoming: to life, to love, to death, to art, to revolution, to our ever-changing identities. It is hilarious and heartbreaking and like nothing I've ever read before." --Jazmina Barrera, author of Linea Nigra

"Pirkko Saisio might be the best Finnish author alive. She is wise, profound, funny, erudite, an old and precise person, and of course a divine storyteller and a master of dialogue. On top of all that, she uses the Finnish language masterfully." --Aamulehti (Finland)

"Pirkko Saisio has for a long time been a genre of her own, an author with a recognizable style, but in her late works she has crossed borders and combined genres with ever more courage." --Helsingin Sanomat

"The Red Book of Farewells is fundamentally about discovering artistic ambition and the origin of inspiration and, undoubtedly, about love, or loves. The red hue in the work is, after all, both the color of love and politics. Saisio's style and self-irony are unfailing and keep me coming back to the book over and over again." --Kirjavinkit (Finland)

"Sleek, virtuosic." --Maija Alftan, Helsingin (Finland)

"Saisio has had a major effect on the cultural atmosphere we live in." --Aleksis Kivi Prize jury

"Self-awareness--and introspection, too, for that matter, are the means by which Saisio writes literature. The stronger the writer's self comes across in the lines, the more rocky and wide open the text becomes. The illusion of control crumbles and Saisio's impressive grasp of drama builds the dialogue, whose few words, yet precise rhythms, give rise to pocket-sized tragedies and comedies."--Taina Ratia, Turun (Finland)

"A beautiful song about survival. Despite the sufferings, Finnish Pirkko Saisio dissects the hidden codes of relationships. Like no other, she manages to capture the waiting at the bar, when the person one is waiting for never shows up." --Heidi von Born, Svenska Dagbladet