Children of The CaveVirve Sammalkorpi
‘It’s dangerous to be different where everyone else is alike. Have you noticed?’
1819. Iax Agolasky, a young assistant to a notable French explorer, sets off on a journey to the Russian wilderness. They soon discover a group of creatures living in a cave: children with animal traits. But are they animals, or are they human? Faced with questions of faith, science and the fundamentals of truth, tensions rise in the camp. Soon the children’s safety becomes threatened and Agolasky needs to act.
The novel is based on the photo series and synopsis by Pekka Nikrus.
Why Peirene chose to publish this book:
Greek legends, fables and fairy tales all share an interest in mythical beings. In this book Sammalkorpi imagines what would happen if these creatures really existed. How would we respond? The answer to this question matters hugely. It determines what it means to be human.
Written by Virve Sammalkorpi
Translated from the Finnish by Emily Jeremiah & Fleur Jeremiah
There Be Monsters series
148pp, paperback with flaps, £12
We celebrate Virve Sammalkorpi as one of the most powerful voices to emerge in Finnish literature for a generation. She published her first novel in 1999 and has written seven novels in total. Sammalkorpi’s most recent novel, Children of The Cave, won both the 2017 Savonia Literature Prize and the Kuvastaja prize for the best Finnish Fantasy Novel. This is the first time one of her books has been translated into English.
Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah form a multilingual mother-and-daughter translation team. Emily and Fleur have co-translated works by numerous Finnish poets and novelists. They are also the translators of Peirene No. 7 The Brothers, Peirene No. 11 Mr Darwin’s Gardener, Peirene No. 16 White Hunger.
‘Children of the Cave is a memorable depiction of how we seek to categorize markers of difference … the line between reality and fantasy is blurred by the shifting shadows of night and day. We see how violence can emanate from ignorance and confusion, the fear of the unknown.’ Tess Davidson, the TLS
‘Formally bold … Sammalkorpi finds a welcome balance between the sentimental and the Gothic.’ Tobias Carroll, Words Without Borders
‘Virve Sammalkorpi’s award-winning novel, deftly translated into English by Emily and Fleur Jeremiah, weaves a dark fantasy from this material and raises interesting questions about the burdens of scientific research and the compromising of ethical considerations in the pursuit of knowledge.’ Lucy Popescu, European Literature Network
‘Poignant and piercing, it is a story for our times.’ Jackie Law, Never Imitate
‘Children of the Cave brilliantly captures the idiom of exploration…the novel questions both what it is to be human and how well humanity can recognise itself. Though the novel is set two hundred years ago, the fear of the other is still very much alive today.’ Grant Rintoul, 1st Reading
‘A truly enjoyable read with its beautiful and precise language.’ Savonia prize jury
‘Children of the Cave is tantalisingly dark…a poignant story that looks at what it means to be an outsider.’ Eric Karl Anderson, Lonesome Reader
‘One of the most ambitious works of this year. A novel that deals with what it means to be human and the associated ethical and moral questions.’ Kuvastaja prize jury
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