Siiri Enoranta

Siiri Enoranta
Veikko Somerpuro
Siiri Enoranta: Kesämyrsky. Novel, WSOY, 2020. Nominated for the 2021 Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize.

In the city of Queensbridge, everyone who has money flies. Aircraft fuel is a mysterious indigo. Only a few know the secret of indigo, but everyone wants to share in the richness of the substance.

13-year-old Andrew has an open eye and a determined nature. Ahead of him awaits the best summer of his life to date, because he’s been invited to the Roy family’s summer villa. Amanda and Lawrence Roy, their beautiful and capricious daughter Penelope and their much-admired son Josh live the fascinating and enigmatic life of the wealthy, as Andrew observes with fascination. The summer is full of unspoken truths and gloomy secrets. Andrew’s father is a psychiatrist, who is treating Penelope. Penelope is in shock after witnessing a murder that shook the whole city. Andrew wants to befriend Josh, the leader of the revered yet terrifying gang Nokisiivet.

Kesämyrsky (“Summer storm”, not translated into English) is a linguistically rich piece of youth literature with fine personal descriptions that skilfully combine speculative fiction, manor novels, and stories about schoolchildren’s relationships. This is a multidimensional story about a summer after which nothing can be the same. Kesämyrsky is about a family that is not as perfect as it seems. It’s the story of intense delight described so skilfully that the emphasis is not on sexual orientation or gender but on experience and emotions. It’s about a gang of youths that play with power, realising too late that their games have gone too far. The book forces the reader to see the dark side of both the young protagonists and the adults who influence the young people’s lives. The story shows how the pursuit of perfection does not bring out the best in a person but unleashes evil.

Kesämyrsky is about how the innocent world of childhood can be changed over the course of a summer, with no turning back. There are gloomy undertones beneath the beautiful surface. The dark side of people is like waste falling from an aircraft. You can’t protect yourself from it with an umbrella: you have to face it. But in doing so, you can grow into a fully fledged person.

Siiri Enoranta (born in 1987) has published nine independent fantasy novels for young people. Kesämyrsky was nominated for the Finlandia Junior Award for children and young people’s literature in 2020. Enoranta won the Finlandia Junior Award in 2018 with her previous novel, Tuhatkuolevan kirous (“The Burning Dark”, not translated into English). Enoranta is a skilled writer with a distinctive voice who always manages to create new worlds in her novels.