Literary and crime fiction publishers have often looked beyond English for great writing and there has also always been a strong tradition of SF and fantasy outside the English language. Lately UK and US publishers have been making renewed efforts to translate some of this for our markets. Itaranta is a Finnish writer whose artful and beautiful written work sits on the border between SF and Fantasy. This is her second novel and it’s a cracker – a book of almost hypnotic beauty set in a dreamlike world of a city that is constantly awash with ebbing and flowing tides. Grounding the narrative is the story of Eliana; a young women who benefits from the advantages of being close to the House of weavers, the ruling class of the city who transmit the messages, the culture and the history of this society.
But this is a world that shares some of our worries; there are uneasy hints of ecological collapse and political repression washing up around Eliana’s world and the arrival into it of a strange girl who bears Eliana’s name tattooed on her wrist precipitates a dark turn of events that drives this novel. Fans of Margaret Atwood will adore this book as will those who revel in China Mieville’s extraordinary imagination. Itaranta is a name to watch.
'Where itaranta shines is in her understated but compelling characters' Red star review (for MEMORY OF WATER), Publishers Weekly. Emmi Itaranta's prose combines the lyricism of Ishiguro's NEVER LET ME GO. This is her second novel, following the award-winning MEMORY OF WATER. The tapestry of life may be more fragile than it seems: pull one thread, and all will unravel. In the City of Woven Streets, human life has little value. You practice a craft to keep you alive, or you are an outcast, unwanted and tainted. Eliana is a young weaver in the House of Webs, but secretly knows she doesn't really belong there. She is hiding a shameful birth defect that would, if anyone knew about it, land her in the House of the Tainted, a prison for those whose very existence is considered a curse. When an unknown woman with her tongue cut off and Eliana's name tattooed on her skin arrives at the House of Webs, Eliana discovers an invisible network of power behind the city's facade. All the while, the sea is clawing the shores and the streets are slowly drowning.
|Publication date:||2nd June 2016|
|Publisher:||HarperVoyager an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers|
|Primary Genre||Science Fiction|
PRAISE FOR MEMORY OF WATER:
'(A) poetic and melancholy debut
'Itaranta's lyrical style makes this dystopian tale a beautiful exploration of environmental ethics and the power of ritual'
'Gorgeous and delicate'
Library Journal, starred review
'Itaranta's steady piling on of pressure on her protagonist grips, even as her prose soothes
'Where Itaranta shines is in her understated but compelling characters'
Red Star Review, Publishers Weekly
'Gorgeous and delicate'
Library Journal, Starred Review
'Brilliant, lyrical prose
Emmi Itäranta was born in Tampere, Finland, where she also grew up. She holds an MA in Drama from the University of Tampere and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Kent, UK, where she began writing her award-winning debut novel Teemestarin kirja (The Tea Master’s Book) under the title Memory of Water. Itäranta wrote the full text in both Finnish and English. In 2011, Teemestarin kirja won the Sci-fi and Fantasy Literary Contest organised by the Finnish publishing house Teos, and in the following years Memory of Water was nominated for the ...More About Emmi Itaranta