They Know Not What They Do, a psychological novel set in the near future by Jussi Valtonen, grapples with the role technology plays in our relationships, for better and worse. Joe Chayefski has what he always wanted: a reputation as one of America’s top neuroscientists, a beautiful wife and two perfect daughters. But his carefully created idyll is threatened when his Baltimore neuroscience lab is targeted by animal rights activists. And shortly after the attack, Joe receives a phone call from his ex-wife Alina in Finland, whom he abandoned along with their young son Samuel two decades earlier when he returned to America to advance his career. Now Samuel is somewhere in the States, and Alina fears he is looking for revenge.

As Joe struggles to protect his new family from the increasing threat of violence — and to save his eldest daughter from the clutches of an unscrupulous tech company — he is forced to reconsider his priorities and take drastic action to save those he loves.

An ambitious contemporary novel, this international bestseller from Jussi Valtonen is perfect for fans of Dave Eggers and Jonathan Franzen. They Know Not What They Do is the winner of the 2014 Finlandia Prize, Finland’s highest literary honor, and has had rights sold in nine countries.

Jussi Valtonen will be speaking in conversation with author Anu Partanen, in a discussion moderated by translator Kristian London.

Following the discussion, copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

Special thanks to the Consulate General of Finland and FILI


About Jussi Valtonen

Jussi Valtonen is an author and psychologist from Helsinki, Finland. He was a Fulbright Scholar and studied at Johns Hopkins University. His previous works include two novels and a short story collection.

He currently lives in New York City where he is at NYU on a post-doctoral fellowship.

About Anu Partanen


Anu Partanen is the author of “The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life.” She is a journalist originally from Finland, now based in New York City. She has lived in the United States since 2008, and her work has appeared in the New York Times and The Atlantic. She is a regular commentator on the BBC’s radio program Business Matters, and she has worked at Fortune Magazine as a visiting reporter through the Innovation Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University. In Finland she has held many positions ranging from managing editor to columnist, features writer to news reporter, lecturer to on-air commentator. Her book “The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life” compares everyday life in the United States with life in the Nordic region.



Photo by Markko Taina. Book Jacket courtesy of OneWorld Publications.

TUE—January 16—7 PM, free