Tuhkaan piirretty maa - Petra Rautiainen

Land of snow and ashes

Petra Rautiainen´s debut novel LAND OF SNOW AND ASHES ( 8/2020) was the first Finnish debut novel that sold English translation rights prior publication. At the end of the year 2020 —  only just after four months from release — translation rights was sold into 10 languages.  Almost half of the confirmed publishing deals including also Rautiainen’s second novel that she is currently writing.

The novel is set in the barren beautiful Lapland landscape and brings to light untold difficult themes of Finland’s wartime nazi friendly history and the assimilation of the Sámi. It has had a very good feedback from the critics and the readers in Finland and wast listed to be one of the most selling novel in August 2020.

Land of Snow and Ashes has won one of the biggest literature prize in Finland — Savonia Prize and has received four literary prize nominations: Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize, the Book of the Year prize by Finnish bookstore Suomalainen Kirjakauppa, the Savonia Prize and  is nominated the Lapland Literature Prize 2021.

Recently Land of Snow and Ashes has been selected for Books at Berlinale 2021 at the Berlinale film festival. 

Author's quote

In my first novel I wrote the colonialisation of  Sámi people and Fasism  during the Second World War time in Finland and after it. In my second novel the focus is at the arctic minority and human abuse of  nature. Intercultural communication – how different cultures and individuals faces one another –  are the main themes of my novels .”

Tuhkaan piirretty maa - Petra Rautiainen

Translation sold so far to:

Pushkin Press (English / UK & Australia, New-Zealand)
Suhrkamp (German)
Seuil (French)
Marsilio Editori (Italian, 2 book deal)
Meridiaan Uitgevers (Dutch, 2 book deal)
Norstedts (Swedish)
Gyldendal Norsk (Norwegian, 2 book deal)
Modtryk (Danish, 2 book deal)
Europakiadó (Hungarian)
Paseka (Czech)

Pushkin Press USA+Canada (world rights)

Book reviews

Land of Snow and Ashes by Petra Rautiainen, translated by David Hackston(Pushkin, £12.99)

In 1944 Finland reversed its second world war allegiance to the Nazis following a treaty with Russia. This debut novel is set in part during that shaky period, narrated by a soldier working in a Nazi camp in the northern town of Inari, “at the edge of the earth”. His diary alternates with the story of photographer Inkeri after the war, ostensibly reporting on the loss of the local Sámi culture, but really looking for her husband who went missing in the war. In the 1944 sections, we find out what happened to him. Rautiainen’s prose is occasionally clunky as it makes points about cultural domination (“Photography was about power – a form of manipulation”), but the book reveals so much more about a war we thought we knew that it feels like a potted epic.”

Savon Sanomat
newspaper, Finland

“The combination of drama between the characters, social analysis and the recount of recent history of violence results in a recipe for success. A reader turns the pages at a record pace… The novel is so addictive it challenges its worst competitors – the Internet streaming services.
In this prose by a historian, punctuality and abundance of knowledge build a solid and analytical account of the world. And the actions do not merely stay in their historical context, but form a universally valid representation of the problems that are continuously relevant in power relations and for minorities.”

tuhkaan piirretty maa
Franziska Berninger

“The way Petra Rautiainen intertwines Väinö’s diary with Inkeri’s experience in post-war-Lapland is uniquely crafted. Through her descriptions of war, the madness, all the emotional, tragic and terrifying events are highlighted and feel even closer. Her characters come to life with just a few sentences and she has the talent to reach deep into their hopes and fears, creating an instant immersion into the story. In some chapters, she succeeds in writing a page turning thriller, passages that leave the reader breathless stand next to poetic descriptions of the northern landscape. And above all, she writes about a burning topic of today’s society: Dealing with the history of suppression, making amends to marginalized minorities and facing the whole truth of the past.”

otava yhteystiedot
Antti Kasper
Publisher, Otava Publishing Company

“When we at Otava first read the manuscript for Petra Rautiainen’s debut novel, it was clear we had a real gem in our hands. The novel is the work of an exceptional literary talent, written in a powerful prose that reflects the rugged beauty of the novel’s arctic setting. At the same time, the novel reads like a thriller, exploring the dark secrets of WWII prison camps in Finnish Lapland. It is this rare combination of high literary quality and strong commercial appeal that makes Petra Rautiainen’s novel quite simply a dream come true for a publisher.”

Angela Wittmann

“In Petra Rautiainens poetischem Debütroman Land aus Schnee und Asche ist die Schönheit des Plarkreises durchzogen von den brutalen Spuren, die die Nazis auch hier hinterlassen haben. Hat mich sehr gepackt” (3/2022)

Jette Holmgaard Greibe

“Forfatteren er virkelig dygtig til at beskrive de menneskelige skæbner og naturen. Den ligefremhed, Rautiainen skriver med, skærper fornemmelsen af autenticitet, når hun beskriver miljøets hårdhed og naturens ubarmhjertighed.” (12/2021)

tuhkaan piirretty maa
Adam Freudenheim
Publisher of Pushkin Press

“I’m thrilled to have acquired Land of Snow and Ashes, a novel that opens a whole new window on an otherwise familiar chapter of history. Just as importantly, it does so by telling a gripping story and with fully developed characters. I can’t wait for readers to ‘land’ in Lapland when Land of Snow and Ashes arrives as a lead title for Pushkin in early 2022.”

tuhkaan piirretty maa
Pirita Näkkäläjärvi
Member of Sámi Parliament in Finland, Chair of Cultural Committee

“Petra Rautiainen’s novel is not only a fascinating story but also an example on how a work of fiction can be an important source of information on the history of indigenous peoples and other minorities. Getting to know the central characters Piera and Bigga-Marja opens a window into our Sámi culture and hopefully sparks an interest in the reader to find out more about the painful history of the indigenous people of Sámi in Finland.”

HS uutiset
Helsingin Sanomat
newspaper, Finland

“A perfectly robust, intense thriller plot.
Land of Snow And Ashes describes the complex landscape of the 40’s Lapland ambitiously and beautifully… This debut novel explores the themes of Sámi culture and colonialism alongside German and Finnish brothers-in-arms.
The characters in the novel clearly show how very young people go to war. For them, post-war freedom in peacetime is “mere chaos”…. The novel also depicts in a relatable way the difficulty of a swaying identity in the form of a young Sámi girl.”

Jamal Tuschick

“in Petra Rautiainens kraftvollem und bewegenden Debüt steht die Schönheit des arktischen Lapplands den brutalen Machenschaften der Nazis und ihrer finnischen Kollaborateure gegenüber. Ein spannungsgeladener und gleichzeitig tief poetischer Roman, der sich der Wahrheit der Vergangenheit stellt und geschehenes Unrecht wiedergutzumachen versucht”