The Mine by Antti Tuomainen translated by David Hackston ** Finnish Invasion Blog Tour **

I am delighted to be part of Orenda Books' Finnish Invasion Blog Tour which is celebrating the publication of The Exiled by Kati Hiekkapelto and The Mine by Antti Tuomainen. 

Today I am featuring The Mine  and I am particularly thrilled to welcome its author, Antti Tuomainen to Books, Life and Everything to talk about writing the novel.




1.       Welcome to Books, Life and Everything. Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself?



AT: My name is Antti Tuomainen. I’m a Finnish author living in Helsinki, Finland. I’ve published altogether six novels. Three of them have been published in the UK, most recently The Mine. Earlier books are The Healer and Dark As My Heart. My books have been translated into 28 languages, I’ve been nominated for the Petrona Prize, have won the Clue Award for the Best Finnish Crime Novel and there is a feature film in the works from my novel Dark As My Heart. I’m most active on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AnttiTuomainenOfficial) and I’m also on Twitter @antti_tuomainen and Instagram @anttituomainen and I have a web page at www.anttituomainen.com.



2.       When you started thinking about The Mine, which came first – the characters or the plot?



AT: The characters, as always. As a writer, I'm primarily interested in the human condition. We’re all so wonderfully flawed and so imperfectly perfect. We can be good and we can be so bad. I’m interested in the way we act in time of crisis, in desperate situations, how we respond in different situations. So every novel begins with characters and their dilemmas, challenges, problems, and, naturally, secrets. In the case of THE MINE, I wanted to tell the story of a father and a son. To do that, I of course needed a framework and a plot.



In THE MINE that framework is actually a mine and the events surrounding it. The mine in the novel, while fictional, was modeled after a very real and very catastrophic actual mine in northern Finland. There was a sort of a mining boom in Finland a few years ago and at this time a huge nickel mine in the north was opened. It was, and continues to be, an utter disaster from the beginning. When it was revealed how the business got its start, how it involved politicians and business people in a highly questionable manner and how phenomenally huge was, and continues to be, the tax-payers' bill I felt I had to ask a few questions.



3.       Janne is conflicted by his role as a journalist and writer. Do you identify with the compromises he seems to have to make?



AT: Not really, and perhaps some. I only worked very briefly as a journalist between being an advertising copywriter for 12 years and being a full time writer of novels. And I was fortunate to work for a magazine that valued its writers. So I was never put on a story like "Learn to twerk!" as Janne is. But, of course, it's all around us.  



4.     Your economical writing style is so striking and atmospheric. Do you hone your descriptions through many drafts? How do you feel about editors commenting?



AT: I'm a slow writer and I take great care with my text. I try to make it as good as I can. I believe every word matters, every word has to be in the right place. I suppose this might have something to do with my first literary love: poetry. I was and am a reader of poetry and poetry is language at its most precise.



5.       The environment is a key part of the book. Did you have to research your localities?



AT: I must admit I relied heavily on memory. As a child and later as a teenager, I went skiing in the north quite a bit. I'm surprised as to how vivid some of the memories of the landscape are.



6.       Finally, have you any plans for any further books which you are able to share?



AT: Oh yes. I have a book called THE MAN WHO DIED (that's the Finnish title) that will be published in the UK in 2017 by Orenda Books. The book's gotten a fantastic reception in Finland with both the readers and the critics. I'm so happy about that. I was a bit nervous because it is a new kind of a book for me. It is a thriller and a black comedy. It's my most successful book in Finland so far. I'm so grateful and hope it will reach readers in the UK as well.




 A hitman. A journalist. A family torn apart. A mine spewing toxic secrets to poison them all...

In the dead of winter, investigative reporter Janne Vuoni sets out to uncover the truth about a mining company, whose illegal activities have created an environmental disaster in a small town in Northern Finland. When the company's executives begin to die in a string of mysterious accidents, and Janne's personal life starts to unravel, past meets present in a catastrophic series of events that could cost him his life. 

A traumatic story of family, a study in corruption, and a shocking reminder that secrets from the past can return to haunt us, with deadly results... The Mine is a gripping, beautifully written, terrifying and explosive thriller by the King of Helsinki Noir.

My Thoughts 

    There are several strands to this novel. At the centre of the plot is Janne who is an investigative journalist. He is trying to uncover a conspiracy centred around a mining company in Northern Finland. If true, there would be consequences for the environment and for the community who are employed at the mine. He makes choices in his professional life which put his personal life in jeopardy. Meanwhile mining executives begin to die in strange circumstances. Overlaid on this plot is a story about family relationships and especially about what it is to be a father or son.

    I loved the style of writing. Antti Tuomainen uses precise and economical language to evoke the atmosphere of the cold, unfriendly North as the winter weather closes in. As the cold gets worse, the tension seems to ratchet up and the state of Janne's personal life becomes bleaker. Each of the characters is skilfully drawn. You can see how driven a personality Janne is as he carries on with his quest to uncover the truth at the expense of those he loves. When he meets his long lost father, Emil, you sense a sadness at this void in his life. As Emil's story emerges, you realise that there is not one wasted detail in this intricate blend of character and plotline. 

In short:  an atmospheric and absorbing mystery where corruption and menace envelop everyone. 

                                                                            The Author

Finnish Antti Tuomainen (b. 1971) was an award- winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother's Keeper was published two years later. In 2011 Tuomainen's third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for 'Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011' and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labelled The Healer - the story of a writer desperately searching for his missing wife in a post-apocalyptic Helsinki- 'unputdownable'. Two years later in 2013 they crowned Tuomainen 'The King of Helsinki Noir' when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula.


You can read my review of The Exiled here.

Thanks to Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the Finnish Invasion Blog Tour. 

                          Check the rest of the Blog Tour here:


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