Author(s): Philip Teir
On the surface, the Paul family are living the liberal, middle-class dream in Helsinki. Max Paul is a renowned sociologist and his wife Katriina has a well-paid government job. They live in a beautiful apartment in the centre of the city. But look closer and the cracks start to show. As he approaches his sixtieth birthday, the certainties of Max's life begin to dissolve. His wife no longer loves him, and his grown-up daughters - one in London, one in Helsinki - have problems of their own. So when a former student turned journalist shows up and offers him a seductive lifeline, Max starts down a dangerous path from which he may never find a way back. Funny, sharp, and brilliantly truthful, Teir's debut has the feel of a big, contemporary, humane American novel, but with a distinctly Scandinavian edge.
So you thought life in Scandinavia was perfect?
Shot through with understated black humour and nicely balanced between tender and acerbic, this impressive novel is a forceful reminder that there is much more to Scandinavian writing than crime fiction Sunday Times Teir offers a sardonic yet sympathetic critique of a multi-generational family ... remarkable eye for human behaviour ... an intelligent debut Telegraph cool yet compassionate...bitingly funny...engrossing The Lady Written with unshowy care and thought...there's something Anglo-Americanly, unScandinavianly familiar about the way Teir tackles these domestic and emotional entanglements - only with weird Finnish names, very heavy snowfall and temperatures that reach -20 Celsius -- Harry Ritchie Daily Mail funny, sharply observed and very readable Press Association Somewhere between Richard Yates and John Updike, but with a Nordic temperament that is cooler ... Teir writes about an academic middle class family with a realism that is both ironically compassionate and warmly critical Expressen Little short of brilliant ... The Winter War is firmly rooted in an Anglo-Saxon tradition, alongside writers such as Julian Barnes, Alan Hollinghurst and Jeffrey Eugenides Jonkopings-Posten This is set in Helsinki and concerns the author's own community of Finland-Swedes. It's more Scandi-gris than Scandi-noir - deceptively monochrome but enlivened with a humour as sour as pickled herring and often as delicious. This is an everyday tale of midlife crisis among spoilt, middle-class folk. Think Wallander with laughs. -- Kate Saunders The Times A domestic drama with all the tension of a needling thriller Shortlist
Finland-Swede Philip Teir is considered one of the most promising young writers in Scandinavia. His poetry and short stories have been included in anthologies, including Granta Finland. The Winter War is his first novel. He is married with two children and lives in Helsinki, Finland, in the same neighbourhood as the Paul family.