Iida Rauma (b. 1984) is originally from Littoinen in the Turku area, but lives with her girlfriend in Helsinki, where she works as a superintendent in an apartment building. She practices ugly singing, writes, and loves to draw. Rauma studied political history and creative writing at the University of Turku, taking a master’s degree in political science, but also film-making at the Turku Art Academy. Two short films written by her Kesää myöhemmin (‘The Following Summer’) and Karusellileikki (‘Carousel Game’) were showcased at the Vinokino film festival in 2007. Rauma has also worked as a reporter and subbed at an old people’s home in Turku for five years. Katoamisten kirja (‘The Book of Disappearances’, Gummerus 2011) is her first novel.
We constantly feel as if we were about to explode with emotion, as in Romanticism or a radically realistic depiction of the disgusting. Strangely, The Book of Disappearances seems to fall into both categories. And maybe that’s the main reason why I can’t help but like it—but also because of its basic command of the sentence. This beginner never falters.
– Antti Majander, Helsingin Sanomat
What makes this an ambitious first novel is [...] its use of the present tense. We have seen more present-tense narrations in our recent literary prose, but it is still rare, and Rauma wields it masterfully.
– Kaisa Kurikka, Turun Sanomat
Debut novelist Iida Rauma steps forward convincingly. The Book of Disappearances speaks with a strong voice, and Rauma succeeds in developing her characters, who seem at first to slip through the reader’s fingers, into full-blooded verisimilitude.”
– Elina Kela,Kiiltomato
A powerful mood and an unsentimental narration make the novel painful but irresistible.
And in general the narration is controlled and dynamic. Rauma shifts brilliantly from intense moments to extremely subtle dialogue. The interior world of the novel is constructed through carefully chosen details, fingernail scratches, and vials of pills.
– Jussi Kaskinen, Kymen Sanomat
(…) Iida Rauma has written a controlled debut novel with a unique voice.
– Eija Komu, Keskisuomalainen
The author’s first novel is strong, fierce, full of shouting and longing, love and its various manifestations.
– Irja, Kirjavinkit
The Book of Disappearances is a ferocious tale about a young woman who is searching for and losing herself — and about those who leave without warning.
A young woman and her girlfriend move to Turku, a new city for both of them. But the main character finds herself unable to start a new life, or make a clean break from the old one. Her father has disappeared without a trace, and her mother is more interested in Finnish Civil War-era atrocities than in her own daughter. She paints, washes old ladies in an old people’s home, neglects her relationship with her girlfriend, and feels attracted to a Kosovar colleague at the old people’s home, named Zorka.
The Book of Disappearances is a novel about shirking responsibility — and about caring. Some people self-medicate with pills; others just leave. The characters of the novel live on the peripheries of society: lesbians, old people, students, immigrants, crazy people. Rauma shows how people tend to “disappear” when they are not seen as whole people.
The novel also depicts ordinary everyday acts of violence, their quiet acceptance in certain environments seen as safe: schools, homes, old people’s homes. Rauma sees what teachers, mothers, and caretakers miss. Iida Rauma’s debut novel is honest and zealous, full of sexual, social, and existential searching. The novel’s nuanced narrative voice and dense-pack mood sweep the reader along on a voyage into uncharted places out on the white areas of the map.
Original name: Katoamisten kirja
Publisher: Gummerus, 2011
Hardcover 134 x 213 mm
Cover design: Sanna-Reeta Meilahti