1981 Sonia O. Was Here
1985 What about Goldmouth?
1987 Where We See Darkness
1989 Chinese Summer
1991 Children of Longing and Energy
1993 A Time for Skin
1995 Geography of Fear
1996 Autumn Prince
1997 Lauri of Arabia
1998 Bonds and Ties
1999 Maps of Paradise
2001 Safari Club
2002 Mother with Dog
2005 Continents of Love
2007 Harry H.
2007 Pet Shop Girls
2010 Balcony Gods
2012 Ivana B
2010 Balcony Gods
Orig. title: Parvekejumalat
On the day when 14-year old Anise falls, it is snowing for the first time that winter. While falling from the balcony, Anise is thinking about the melting ice, and about the sea that is getting ever more salty. She thinks about the Vice President of the United States, Al Gore, who is travelling around the world, lecturing about climate change. This is how she sometimes secretly dreamed her own father would be. A man who does not spy on his daughter’s mobile phone, or try to obtain the username and password for her computer. A father who would let his daughter draw pictures of rock stars and read Lolita, and watch vampire movies, and go to a Madonna concert. A father almost the President. Just like Anise, almost a woman and almost a Finn.
Anise and her family live in a block of flats for immigrants in a grey drab-looking concrete jungle, where satellite dishes jut from rows of balconies. Together with her best friend Cinnamon, Anise dreams about things that to a native Finnish teenage girl are everyday occurrences. But Anise and Cinnamon are not Finnish; they are Somali girls, and Anise’ father has a plan for her. This plan does not include vanities such as books, lipsticks or jeans, which Anise secretly tries on in the cellar when her father and brothers are not there to see it. Above all, his plan does not include the boy from the Dead Sea, for whom Anise skips school. She escapes her brothers’ alert eyes, and thrusts herself against the boy in secret, so eagerly that their hips crash on impact. In his arms Anise starts to believe that she has nothing to fear.
Elsewhere Zahra, formerly known as Alla Pohjola, dresses in the Niqab, which covers her from head to toe. Zahra has left behind her former life, and is about to "return home” by converting to Islam. The Hijab enables Zahra to hide the scars of the cuts that were inflicted upon her in the "accident", before her conversion. Underneath the Niqab , there is a new unblemished Zahra.
When the paths of Anise and Zahra cross, their lives will take a new direction, from which there is no return.
Balcony Gods is Anja Snellman’s 19th novel. It is a declaration of freedom, a voice that cries out in the desert. Snellman’s poetic and provoking language both seduces and shakes her readers. She is not afraid to prod into the holiest of patriarchies in her defence of a woman’s right to decide her own sexuality.
"Anja Snellman prefers not to remain isolated in an ivory tower, writing books that are alien to the outside world; instead, she writes about genuine things happening in the real world. Typical of all of Snellman’s books, this book also has a brave and topical subject that has already generated plenty of public debate. he basic set up of the novel is not black-and-white; it is not a case of opposites, nor does it develop into a battle of for-or-against. Snellman might have resorted to any one of these ways of handling the subject, but her experience and multidimensional way of thinking take readers to a new place and leave them with several questions to ponder. " Turun Sanomat
"Balcony Gods is definitely among the best books in Snellman's long career. It is a rarity in Finnish modern literature [...] it looks outward, towards our exceptional city, and tries to get to grips with it." Helsingin Sanomat
Snellman’s new book arrives at the centre of a debate on multiculturalism. It provides a powerful angle on problems that so-called assimilation may bring. It looks at the use of power, the submission of women, and the acceptance of crimes against human rights on cultural pretences.” Keskisuomalainen
"Snellman manages to captivate the reader with her story.[...] (She) writes about issues which we may have only detected faint signals of so far. All of Snellman’s books operate as alarm bells within society: look here people, see what’s happening all around you." Talouselämä
"Balcony Gods is a masterpiece in Anja Snellman’s long career. [...] Snellman does not beat around the bush. She writes about honour, violence and female circumcision. While writing about these issues however, Snellman does not label every immigrant or Muslim as a violent oppressor…” Image
”The author gets the reader to question what went wrong and who is in the right. She paints a picture of Finland where immigrants fear the secular nature of everyday life, and where the native population allows its offspring to grow up alone." Kansan Uutiset
"The storyline of Balcony Gods momentarily unsettles the reader. It is wonderful and quite terrible at the same time." Me Naiset
"The Balcony Gods is shatteringly topical, unyieldingly accurate and charmingly angry. It promotes the woman's right of self-determination without resorting to preaching." Kirjasieppo/Olivia
Poland, Świat Książki
Arabic, Dar Al Hiwar