Many people ask me for recommendations on Finnish translated fiction. Since the explosion of the Nordic Noir genre, readers are particularly interested in similar books to Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, or the Norwegian Detective Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo, or even something like the Swedish Wallander series.
Naturally there are several books I could recommend, but the problem is that many of my favourite authors are not translated into English. Alternatively, the translations take so long that the novels seem out of date when they’re published into English. In the crime genre, in particular, the police procedures etc. change very quickly, making the Finnish novels seem out of touch and old-fashioned when they finally come out in English.
Traditionally Finnish fiction is first translated into Swedish, and some of the other Nordic and Baltic languages, and then into German. English-language versions have to wait for years, or are never published. This has always seemed perverse to me; after all the English-language market is huge, and with the surge in interest in Nordic fiction, to me it would seem natural that this market would be a prime focus for Finnish publishers.
But, now it seems there’s good news. This is from the press release of the Finnish Literature Exchange, FILI. FILI has the job of promoting Finnish literature around the world.
Hilary Melton-Butcher says
Hi Helena – I can see this would be a great way of opening up the world to the writers from Finland – I sincerely hope it works. Nordic Noir has taken the public by storm and we can't seem to get enough of it … I hope the breakthrough comes. Cheers Hilary