Hatching

A chilling and stirring literary novel about the thirst for power, irresistible addiction, and hatred constantly crossing to lust. The intense events of the story wrap around historic turning points in an utterly surprising way.

It’s the year 1917 in Helsinki. Aleksanteri is leading a secluded life translating German literature and playing Chopin on the piano. The lonely existence is interrupted only by the housekeeper, Hilda’s and lover, Elna’s visits.

Through the thin walls, Aleksanteri listens to the nightly sounds coming from the new neighbour, a Russian journalist in hiding. The flats separated by a wall are like two chambers of the heart where the men secretly listen to each other. A peculiar kind of a relationship is formed, defined by a simultaneous fascination and repulsion. Little by little, the social masks people usually wear lose all meaning between the two.

In 1912 in Helsinki, a young woman listens to the beat of her own heart, trying to navigate between the city turned hostile to her condition and the life growing inside her. Unexpectedly, these two narratives come together in the end, colliding.

Hatching is an exploration into our corporal existence with metaphors and imagery that reach to the grotesque as well as to beauty and musicality. The novel depicts lust and revulsion, and an obsession that makes life almost unbearable.

 

A chilling and stirring literary novel about the thirst for power, irresistible addiction, and hatred constantly crossing to lust. The intense events of the story wrap around historic turning points in an utterly surprising way.

It’s the year 1917 in Helsinki. Aleksanteri is leading a secluded life translating German literature and playing Chopin on the piano. The lonely existence is interrupted only by the housekeeper, Hilda’s and lover, Elna’s visits.

Through the thin walls, Aleksanteri listens to the nightly sounds coming from the new neighbour, a Russian journalist in hiding. The flats separated by a wall are like two chambers of the heart where the men secretly listen to each other. A peculiar kind of a relationship is formed, defined by a simultaneous fascination and repulsion. Little by little, the social masks people usually wear lose all meaning between the two.

In 1912 in Helsinki, a young woman listens to the beat of her own heart, trying to navigate between the city turned hostile to her condition and the life growing inside her. Unexpectedly, these two narratives come together in the end, colliding.

Hatching is an exploration into our corporal existence with metaphors and imagery that reach to the grotesque as well as to beauty and musicality. The novel depicts lust and revulsion, and an obsession that makes life almost unbearable.

 

info

  • Year of publication

    2020

  • Original title

    Synty

  • Page count

    240

  • Original publisher

    Otava Publishing Company

  • Original language of publication

    Finnish

Reviews

  • Toisinkoinen Literature Prize Jury

    "Characterised as a psychological novel, Hatching is bold enough in drawing a fairly delicate picture of the thirst for power as well as of the forces eating vitality and pushing under. At the end of the book, hardly anyone can say that they knew what to anticipate with this reading experience."

  • Parnasso Literary Magazine

    "Laitila shows that she is one of the brightest stars among the most recent newcomers and one of the original voices in contemporary Finnish literature."

  • Turun Sanomat

    "Laitila’s language was admirably alive already in her debut, but now it’s taking on whole new dimensions… Particularly successful is the contrast between breathtaking linguistic images and banal, downright naturalistic corporeality. Hatching is an original story with its strong, peculiar aesthetic… Laitila is one of the most interesting new authors today. Her language is dazzling, her stories touching, and most importantly: the world and language created by the author are distinctively unique."

Awards & Nominations

Nominations

  • Toisinkoinen Literature Prize

    2020

Quote

“As the sounds came through the wall, they thickened into a dense dust that drifted around in my ear, crackling. I heard how a spoon clinked against a plate, a back was straightened with a crunch, and a yawn escaped from the mouth with a satisfied little sound. So free and violent it was, that a person let out such a sound only when they were alone, thinking that no one is listening. I caught the yawn through the wall. It started in my diaphragm and rose through the chest to my throat, erupting in my mouth. My eyes watered, as I tried to swallow it.”

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