The Iron Age is part-coming-of-age novel, and part-fairy-tale told from the perspective of a young girl growing up in the poverty of post-war Finland.
On her family’s austere farm, the Girl learns stories and fables of the world around her – of Miina, their sleeping neighbour; how people get depressed if pine trees grow too close to the house; that you should never turn away a witch at the door; and why her father was unlucky not to die in the war. Te family crosses from Finland to Sweden, from a familiar language to a strange one, from one unfriendly home to another. The Girl, mute but watchful, weaves a picture of her violent father, resilient mother and strangely resourceful brothers.
In this darkly funny debut, with illustrations throughout, folk tales and traditional custom clash with economic reality, from the rural Finland to urban Stockholm.