Sofiakatu, Helsinki

“A hitman. A journalist. A shattered family. A mine spewing toxic secrets…”

One source of my ideas for books to buy is Trip Fiction’s Twitter account…

That is where The Mine came from. Kaivos is the title in Finnish. It was published in 2015, and I think it is the first of Antii Tuomainen’s books to be translated into English.

I have been to Helsinki twice – in September the first time, and then in midwinter – but not to any other part of the country. I would love to go back to see more.


“As the metro glided across the bridge to Kulosaari and the rocks disappeared beneath us, it seemed as though were driving into the very heart of the earth, white and squalling.”

The Mine is mostly set in Helsinki, with a couple of trips to the frozen north added in. The mine is in the north. The hero Janne Vuori is an investigative journalist – remember those… His investigation into environmental crimes ends up putting himself in danger.


I enjoyed it, and would certainly try another of his books.

Having done a fair bit of translation in my time – mostly for studies but occasionally for work – I am always curious about how well the translator into English has captured the essence of the original. In this case the translator has won the Finnish State Prize for Translation.

Also of interest to me – with a geeky interest in such trivia – is that the Finnish Literature Exchange contributed to the cost of translation.

Sunday Lunch, Helsinki

The other outcome of the book for me was to increase my interest in going back to Finland if the pandemic restrictions and my advancing years will permit.

ⓒ iain taylor, 2021


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