January 28th, 2014
After you, Max by Leena Parkkinen will be published in Czech in February. The translator of this wonderful novel is Jitka Hanusova and the publisher is Argo.

July 07th, 2010
By Tiina Kristoffersson

Scandinavian Crime
Bathing in the lake (it's freeeeezing!)
Sauna (preferably heated with wood)

Stilton is slowing down a bit in July but we're reading our e-mails regularly. Summer is a good time for book discussions. I just sold Leena Parkkinen's After you, Max to the Spanish Lengua de Trapo. The publisher wrote: "We absolutely fell in love with her novel and that we have great expectations about it. Just publishing it will be a great honor and pleasure."

May 21st, 2010
Leena Parkkinen has been awarded with Laila Hirvisaari Award. The award is given each year to a talented young author to support him or her in creating high quality, touching and vibrant novels.

Leena Parkkinen’s After you, Max was the most sold debut novel in 2009 in Finland and was therefore awarded by Akateeminen book chain in the beginning of the January. Last year After you, Max won the Debutant of the Year Award arranged by Helsingin Sanomat. The jury described the winning novel:

"The comparison to Günter Grass’ Tin Drum, published exactly 50 years ago, is justified. The setting of both debute novels is like the freak show of life and the storytelling is descriptive: the authors add a magic touch to the harsh facts, transforming them through the wisdom of someone who has experienced and seen a lot.

After you, Max takes the reader through the darker side of Europe, showing that without conflict and insanity there can be no humanity."

January 18th, 2010
By Tiina Kristoffersson

We've had some spam problems here in Stilton blog. The problem is now fixed and our programmer Anders has arranged a spam filter. This means some extra typing for the commentators but I hope you have understanding for this.

From spam to more encouraging subjects: Leena Parkkinen’s After you, Max was the most sold debut novel in 2009 in Finland and was therefore awarded by Akateeminen book chain in the beginning of the January. Last year After you, Max won the Debutant of the Year Award arranged by Helsingin Sanomat. Congratulations!

January 04th, 2010
Leena Parkkinen (b. 1979) has studied scriptwriting and advertising at the Turku Arts Academy and writing at the Critical Academy. She has worked in publishing, advertising, and as a bartender. After you, Max is her first novel and it won the Debutant of the Year Prize 2009.

By Leena Parkkinen (Stilton author)

In his book, La Physiologie du Goût ("The Physiology of Taste"), my old friend Anthelme Brillat-Savarin presents a list of foods that he calls the “acid test of gastronomy”. Unless a diner reacts to these foods with “dazzling ecstasy”, he is not worthy of dining in civilised company. Brillat-Savarin divides food into three groups, one specifically for the very rich, which mere mortals earning the modest sum of 5,000 francs can but dream about. The rich list includes delicacies such as truffle-filled quails with bone marrow, served with toast and basil-flavoured butter. Brillat-Savarin worships meat. Among the twenty or so dishes in his book, there is only one dish for vegetarians - spring asparagus - and even that is served with bone marrow sauce. To Brillat-Savarin, bone marrow sauce has a kind of “higher” taste. It is meatier than meat and, some would say, almost provides a sensual experience.

As I don't particularly care for red meat, and believe that eating it is somewhat suspect considering the state of world’s icebergs, I have redevised the “acid test of gastronomy.” It was more difficult than I thought it would be. At first I listed some of my own favourite foods: mussels in white wine, curried crayfish, and lobster with mayonnaise. Then I remembered that many entirely sane people have refused to eat mussels. One of my friends had the gall to state that he could never eat something as jointed as crayfish. “Besides, they are carnivores.” But so are pigs and chicken, yet my friend is perfectly happy to eat those. I once knew a girl who could not be in the same room with cheese without being sick. Nowadays it is almost impossible to invite anyone over for a meal, because people are getting more and more fussy about food. I accept allergies and ideological objection, but not someone refusing to eat mushrooms just because they don’t have four legs.

There are some foods that I can prepare myself, others that I have tried in a certain restaurant, and yet some others which have a pleasent association. Roasted duck for instance was eaten at my grandmother’s house, always in the autumn, and served with blackcurrent jam. My grandmother taught me to remove the feathers from the bird with a blow torch.

This is my subjective list of ten. If you refuse all of these, you must be tired of life.

Blinis with white fish roe, onions and smetana
Spinach, basil and pine nut-filled perches
Truffle ravioli
Mussels á la fisherman’s wife
Tiger prawns in green curry and coconut milk
Spring asparagus in bearnaise sauce
Aubergine-mozzarella bake
Scrambled eggs with smoked whitefish and trumpet-shaped chantarelles
Lemon sorbet and fresh raspberries
Baked Lapp cheese with cloudberry jam

November 18th, 2009
by Tiina Kristoffersson

Last April I wrote in my Facebook status: ”Tiina Kristoffersson just finished reading a marvelous novel. Great things will happen to this author.”

I had just finished reading Leena Parkkinen’s debut novel After you, Max that wasn’t even in the book shops yet. I was begeistert.

After that Leena Parkkinen has gained great reviews in every newspaper in Finland. Her debut novel has been called an event of the book year. Even though I didn’t expect anything less than this, it’s still a breathtaking moment to see this young author in front of the audience as a winner of the prestigious Debutant of the Year Award arranged by Helsingin Sanomat. It’s almost like seeing your own child receive an award in the school ceremony. Of course you've as a parent always known that your child is special, the smartest, the brightest, the greatest and [add any superlative] but you still get emotional when you see this little person stand in front of the audience and you feel like shouting to everyone “I told you so! I’ve always known this child is special!”

Well, Leena Parkkinen is of course not “a little person”. She’s a woman in her thirties and a superb author. And I am of course not her literary mother -- her publisher Silja Hiidenheimo from Teos publishing house could be called that. But as her agent I still take a great pride -- maybe as her literary godmother? – in her achievements and proudly announce in front of everybody: “I told you so! I’ve always known this debutant is special!”

After all the sparkling celebrations, it is the godmother’s turn to find great foreign publishers to this exceptional novel. With this author I know, I will.

October 24th, 2009
by Tiina Kristoffersson

Stilton author Leena Parkkinen is shortlisted for the Debutant of the Year Award arranged by the Finland’s largest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. Nine other debutants are in the shortlist and the winner will be announced 18th of November.

Helsingin Sanomat praised Leena Parkkinen’s debut novel AFTER YOU, MAX:
”Leena Parkkinen’s debut is an event. Parkkinen describes the experience of otherness as potently as any author could. A brilliant performance. Heady lightness slides into foundering weight and beauty becomes a ticket to perdition, in the manner of that other depictor of that era, F. Scott Fitzgerald.”

AFTER YOU, MAX is a story about brothers Max and Isaac who are born in Germany 1899. Max and Isaac, are Siamese twins joined at the hip. They are given to their mother’s sister to bring up, and the aunt decides, under pressure from a gentleman friend, to sell the twins to a circus so that they can become artists. In the circus, Max and Isaac meet other grotesque misfits of nature and realise that they are respected artists that people are happy to pay and see. The colourful story takes the brothers from the circus via a Parisian cabaret and the backrooms of bordellos towards North, and Helsinki, where they meet a charming but totally immoral Iris. Iris is a woman that men worship and women hate. Iris, kept by her husband, is a divine creature who does not shy away from using men whilst seeking her own fortune. The teller of the story, Isaac, falls madly in love with Iris.

We are thrilled!

More about the author:

May 25th, 2009
Av Tiina Kristoffersson (Stilton Finland)

Jag gillar att läsa svenska damtidningar inför sommaren. I Femina till exempel har man varje år en lista av pocketböcker som man rekommenderar för sommarläsning. Som agent har jag alltid lite dåligt samvete om jag läser böcker bara för skojs skull. Har man endast 24 timmar i dygnet så gäller det att läsa böcker som man har nytta av. (Idiotisk tanke förstås, men jag är väl inte den första människan i världen som resonerar lite knäppt när det gäller att bruka tiden.) Sådana böcker som jag anser är bara för skoj sparar jag till semestern.

I början på mars åkte jag till Röda Havet för att dyka. Vi vistades fem dagar på en båt där man dyker i grupp fyra till fem gånger om dagen. Tänkte att nu ska jag vara riktigt smart och tog med mig Leena Parkkinens debutroman Sinun jälkeesi, Max (Efter dig, Max) som Finlands största dagstidning beskrev som bokvårens händelse. Här ska det minsann slås två flugor i en smäll. Business och pleasure – here I come!

Först efter resan insåg jag att knäppare val än så kunde man knappt ha gjort. Jag fastnade i min lilla hytt med manuskriptet och låtsades som att jag hade fått magsjuka och därför var tvungen att skippa vartannat dyk. Jag kunde helt enkelt inte slita mig från berättelsen om de siamesiska tvillingarna Max och Isaac som föddes i Tyskland i början på 1900-talet och vars moster sålde bröderna till cirkus. Jag slukade berättelsen om bröderna och deras lidelsefulla mansätare till väninna, Iris, som är huvudpersonerna i denna underhållande bok fri från bitterhet och billig sentlimentalitet. Min resekamrat var förstås sur på mig, som bara låg där i hytten och läste bok. Det blev inte speciellt många dykningar, och inte kan jag skryta med att ha sett en haj heller. Jo, förresten — ett par delfiner lyckades jag spotta genom hyttfönstret. Vill ni veta vilken bok som förstörde dykningsresan, får ni helt enkelt ta och läsa den. Kan ni inte finska, så får ni nöja er med en kort sammanfattning här på Stiltons blogg. Än så länge.

Och sensmoralen av det hela? Spara inte godbitarna till semester utan låt de hellre förstöra nattsömnen när livet är som mest hektiskt och semestern känns som en en evighet bort.