New Finnish Grammar

Matthew Reynolds writes:

Diego Marani works in the Directorate-General for Interpretation at the European Commission, and he writes fiction full of ideas prompted by his day job. New Finnish Grammar, translated last year, is heavy with fear at what it might be like to lose language altogether. The hero is discovered in Trieste in 1943, with no words, memory or identity. He is thought (mistakenly) to be a Finn called Sampo Karjalainen, and is sent to Finland to try to recover his former self. The weather is freezing and the grammar confounding. The novel is an amalgam of conversations half understood, relationships thwarted and lonely bus journeys.

(LRB 8 November 2012)

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