The Girl who narrates this slim novel lives on a farm in post war Finland. Conditions are bleak. Finland is paying reparations to Russia for their part in the war. The Girl's father is violent, damaged by his part in the war in which a huge number of Finnish men died.
The Girl observes her family - father, mother and younger brothers Tapio and Tuomas, and Grandmother who owns the farm. Eventually after an argument with grandmother, the family leaves the farm and crosses into Sweden to find work.
This is a quiet but beautifully written short book. The contrasts between rural Finland and urban Stockholm are seen through the eyes of the young narrator. The novel is based on a short story which was shorlisted for the Davy Byrnes Award in 2014.
Arja Kajermo is a cartoonist, born in Finland, raised in Sweden and currently residing in Ireland. It was published in 2017 by Tramp Press.
She tried hard to be like the others/she struggled to catch a ball/she never quite managed a cartwheel/after much practice she stood on her head./When she grew up she turned to science/she thought she would turn the world upside down/after a while she realised that the world had stayed in its proper place all along/and she was still standing on her head.