On April 10, join us for a book talk with Laura Linstedt and translator David Hackston on My Friend Natalia, the author’s U.S. debut, available from Liveright Publishing on March 23, 2021.
My Friend Natalia is a linguistic sexual thriller centered on one woman’s potent affliction: Natalia cannot stop thinking about sex. The unnamed, ungendered therapist who narrates the novel has leapt at the chance to employ their most experimental methods — “Something flared within me,” the therapist notes. “And it wasn’t exclusively sympathy…? It was more like a sudden experience of harmony, wholly inappropriate given the circumstances” — combining philosophy and literature, repressed childhood memories and explicitly unrepressed erotic experiences, through sessions that quickly shed all inhibitions. But it is clear from the moment that Natalia steps into her new therapist’s office that she has motives beyond simply fixing her sex life; and as tension percolates, the therapist can’t shake the question: What does Natalia really want?
In prose that prickles with sharp banter and double entendres as the therapist hurls strange—and hilarious—experimental exercises at Natalia, building to an explosive climax, My Friend Natalia presents a gripping examination of the power dynamics always present but rarely ever spoken about in therapy and sexuality.
The event will take place as a Zoom webinar; please ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. To learn more about the book and see how to purchase, please click here.
“Smart, dark, funny, and weirdly exhilarating, Laura Lindstedt’s My Friend Natalia is both pitched on the brink and absolutely alive. An absorbing discourse of sex, power, and boundaries, in sentences that lift like music”—Paul Lisicky (Later: My Life at the Edge of the World)
“I was tremendously impressed by My Friend Natalia . . . Lindstedt has a very Finnish take on sophistication (downbeat, deadpan), is disconcerting, dissonant, peerless in deferred resolution, a blithe dissolver of the regular association of ideas”—Helen DeWitt (Some Trick: Thirteen Stories)
About Laura Lindstedt
Laura Lindstedt became a critical literary sensation with her adoption-themed debut novel Scissors, which earned her a nomination for the Finlandia Prize, the country’s most prestigious literary honor. Lindstedt’s second novel Oneiron, published in English by Oneworld, is a work of speculative fiction that takes place in the mysterious moments that follow death. Oneiron has continued Lindstedt’s critical success, earning her several literary prizes including the coveted 2015 Finlandia Prize. Lindstedt’s latest novel My Friend Natalia has been a critical success and the rights have been sold to 13 territories. She lives in Helsinki.
About David Hackston
David Hackston is a British translator of Finnish and Swedish literature and drama. He read Scandinavian Studies at University College London and now lives in Helsinki where he works as a freelance translator. Notable recent publications include Katja Kettu’s wartime epic The Midwife and four novels by ‘Helsinki noir’ author Antti Tuomainen, the latest of which, Little Siberia, won the 2020 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. In 2019 his translation of Pajtim Statovci’s Crossing was shortlisted for the National Book Award, and in 2020 it was awarded the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize for Literary Translation. David’s drama translations include three plays by Heini Junkkaala, most recently Play it, Billy! about the life and times of jazz pianist Billy Tipton. David was a regular contributor to Books from Finland until its discontinuation in 2015. In 2007 he was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Translation. David is also a professional countertenor and has studied early music and performance practice in Finland and Portugal. He is a founding member of the English Vocal Consort of Helsinki.