Elina Hirvonen | Granta

Elina Hirvonen

Finnish-born Elina Hirvonen has worked as a TV presenter and a chat show host. She has just finished her first documentary, which focuses on African migration to Europe. She is a passionate traveller and has journeyed independently through thirty different countries. When I Forgot is her first novel.


When I Forgot

Elina Hirvonen

Translated by Douglas Robinson

Anna is on her way to the hospital where her brother has been sectioned when she falters, and, in that pause, her world splinters for the reader into a blazing display of memory and madness, of childhood security treasured and shattered, and of families blighted by psychological trauma – her brother’s and that of her boyfriend’s father, a Vietnam veteran. But, in Elina Hirvonen’s skilful hands, the grimness is illuminated by firecracker insight and flashes of surprising beauty. And, above all, there is hope.

This is an astonishingly assured and compelling debut novel about the love siblings have for each other, the past they share and the painful memories that shape their lives for ever. This title will especially delight readers of Andrea Ashworth, Maggie O’Farrell, Ali Smith, Kate Atkinson and Vendela Vida.