New Plays from Finland

Kari Hotakainen

Kari Hotakainen (b. 1957) is the author of a wide variety of texts. His pen has sprouted an abundance of fiction, books for young audiences, poems, plays, columns, newspaper articles, and advertisement texts. Hotakainen has won several literary awards. In 2002, he was awarded the Finlandia Prize, the most prestigious literary award in Finland, for his novel Trench Road. In 2006, he won the Nordic Drama Award for his play Border Crossing. In 2011, Hotakainen’s novel The Human Part (2009) won France’s Prix Courrier International award for best translated novel. His works have been translated into over 20 languages.

Hotakainen builds his relationship to the world through language: the complexities of the world and the voices of a multitude of people form sentences that each carry significance. The protagonists of Hotakainen’s works are ordinary people who have lost their dignity, but have begun to fight against their own antagonisms and misapprehensions. Hotakainen observes daily life and always finds new and unexpected meanings wherever he looks.

Kari Hotakainen’s monologue play At Your Service examines the nature of servanthood and its social position. Hotakainen exhibits occupational groups whose services we use throughout our lives, from our first shriek to our final rest. The play explores who in the end serves who and when are the boundaries of servanthood overstepped. Hotakainen has turned the play into a novel titled Lifeline (2015). Border Crossing is a wicked comedy about people, who want answers to their questions here and now – even to questions that have no answers. The play combines serious themes and an important message with unforgettable humor and irony.