A seemingly benign conversation on the couch on a Saturday afternoon, while a child naps in the next room, has the power to break a family apart.
But Christmas being only a week away, Frederika and Henrik don’t want to go into details about their separation before they’ve properly celebrated the holidays.
Come January, they are faced with the painfully mundane tasks their decision sets into motion: they have to establish the genealogy of each object in the house, classifying everything as “yours” or “mine”. Weeks are broken into days and hours in a complicated chart that defines who is entitled to spend their time with their daughter.
When the first days of spring arrive, two shaky shadows move out of their shared home.
Frederika has to learn how to live a new life: How to fill her days when she’s alone in her new apartment? How to get through difficult moments alone with the child whose life has also been shaken?
When she’s alone, Frederika relentlessly dissects her relationship with Henrik. She finds herself questioning whether it is actually possible to live in a family, and whether a total love is feasible. At times, she feels she is on the verge of losing her sanity.
A story from the past plays out parallel to Frederika’s narration: a young woman named Julia walks the city, carrying a notebook, a pen and a cosmic mission in her mind to save the world by telling everything about everything. Her two sisters, one being a younger Frederika, do all they can to save her.
Riikka Pulkkinen’s novel The Children’s Planet radiates the same honesty and clarity as the writings of Joan Didion and Joyce Carol Oates. In her novel, she engages with current feminist discussions on family, motherhood, and love.
“If there is one writer who is capable to deal with such a difficult and personal topic in strong literary prose, it is Riikka Pulkkinen. She always strikes me with her unique talent to tell stories about people struggling with very real and recognizable issues, and to address these issues with very clear and accessible philosophical questions.” – Michel van de Waart, De Arbeiderspers, The Netherlands