Doctor in Comparative Literature Calvete Ana

32400 €

Helsinki Sunseekers, A polyphonic memoir of expatriate life in Helsinki

Taiteellinen työ / siihen pohjautuva työ | Yksivuotinen

In Helsinki Sunseekers, a 35-year-old woman sets out on a quest to gain a better understanding of the expatriate experience within Finnish culture. This short autobiographical nonfiction book investigates questions of homemaking, belonging, alienation, community building and cross-cultural (mis)understanding in Helsinki. It narrates stories that cannot be found in guidebooks and history books and describes what it is like to live in Helsinki, especially for the foreigners who chose it as their adoptive home from 2015 to 2023. The key concerns of the book are approached from a variety of perspectives, as the narrator, who has spent 8 years in Helsinki, weaves together her own story of rootlessness with the stories of a dozen other expatriates living in the city, taking the readers inside the daily lives, struggles, and joys of the foreigners they pass by every day. In these pages, an Iranian woman talks longingly about her hometown while walking the woods of Otaniemi, a Canadian tells how she met the future father of her child in Finland, and a Vietnamese-born transgender man describes what it was like to vote for the first time of his life, and to do so in Helsinki. This book grants the readers the opportunity to look at the Finnish capital through the multifaceted prism of all these lives. Special emphasis is placed on the voices of women and expatriates of diverse ethnic backgrounds that have hitherto gone unrecorded. Helsinki Sunseekers is incisive in its societal criticism, particularly when pointing out the contrast that exists between master (institutional) narratives about the city and fragmented (lived) experiences. It allows for diverse and sometimes discordant voices to be heard, without ironing out the contradictions that emerge. All in all, it is intent on challenging stereotyped descriptions of Helsinki and of both the Finnish and foreign people who live there.