Emmi Itäranta’s novel centres around Noria Kaitio, a tea master in New Qian, the Scandinavian Union. Basically, it is about 1000 years post-oil-environmental crash and it looks like the world has been taken over by China. But you can only infer that because of the tea ceremony and some of the language. It’s warm in Scandinavia, global warming has happened and there is no more snow.
There’s always a shortage of water and the village where the story takes place get increasingly pressed upon by the military and things get difficult for everyone in the story.
The main characters are Noria and Sanja, with supporting other characters like Noria’s father and the officious and somewhat malicious military governor Taro. So the gender balance is pretty great. BUT THE STORY IS SUPER SAD AT THE END. WAH.
The language though is absolutely beautiful. It flows like water, which I imagine is how the writer wanted it to. It was a pleasure to read. The imagery and descriptions (especially of the tea ceremony or the gardens) are just lovely. There’s also just hidden tensions beneath the surface of a lot of the relationships and conversations, things unspoken or unable to speak.
I like the world as well, it’s not like The Road or stuff like that, where it is just constant misery. It has futuristic stuff but also an incomprehension of everything in the plastic graves (basically our dumps) was for. You find out some interesting stuff at the end of why things have changed they way they are as well. It was a well wrapped up and neat story.
I’d say read it but be prepared for SADFACE at the end. SO SAD.