Sophie Baggott

When Sticklebacks Fly

Things that Fall from the Sky

By

Oneworld 240pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Being a grown-up is all too often a serious business: rarely do we allow ourselves a moment to review life through childlike eyes. Finnish writer Selja Ahava grapples with this in her second novel, which opens with the thoughts of a girl trying to piece together why a shard of ice that fell from a plane’s underbelly has decapitated her mother.

It’s a vision that leaves other tales told from a child’s-eye view in the dust. As amusing and wise as Tove Jansson’s six-year-old Sophia may be, and as entertainingly frank as Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John is, neither competes with Saara, the intense first-person narrator of the opening part of this novel. Ahava steers clear of the hygge trend: this book has more of a resemblance to the work of Dorthe Nors, another Scandinavian master of simple, stirring voices that interrogate the tragicomedy of human existence.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Tarantino's latest film is 'a fairy tale about Hollywood, where fantasy is an industrial product and the boulevards… ,
    • 'I don’t think we’re here on Earth to be Happy. I think we’re here on Earth to help God. I am a messianic writer'.… ,
    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,