Miki Liukkonen: O [O]

The latest addition to my website is Miki Liukkonen‘s O [O]. Liukkonen, who died in June 2023 aged thirty three, has written a monumental novel (novel)858 pages) in the Finnish original and 961 in the French translation which I read), set in Helsinki in 2013 about a cast of over a hundred characters all of whom have some psychosis/neurosis/phobia. We follow the stories of these characters as they and their psychoses and neuroses interact in all sorts of imaginative ways, starting with the suicide of a female student at the university. Sometimes the stories disappear for hundreds pf page, only to reappear. Many of them link with others. Some of it is very funny while some is deadly serious. Real (and dead) characters put in an appearance (Tesla, Jung). Many of the psychoses/neuroses will be familiar, at least to experts in the field but many, I guarantee, they will never have heard of. Liukkonen makes little attempt to explain why in the happiest country in the world, there are so many mental heath problems, though a couple of quotes give some ideas. In short we nearly all suffer some sort of mental health issue and it is not going to get better. This is an absolutely brilliant novel but sadly not yet available in English.

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