Katja Kettu is an award-winning Finnish writer. Born in Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland, in 1978, Kettu works not only as a novelist but also as a columnist and director of animated films. Her books are suffused with traditional Finnish nature mysticism and the richness of northern Finnish dialects. Kettu is also known for startling plots and original, poetic language. After her 2005 debut, Surujenkerääjä (The Sorrow Collector), Kettu released several books that portray lives on the margins of history. Hitsaaja (The Welder) combines the fate of the cruise ship Estonia with the story of the Far North. Kätilö (The Midwife) depicts a passionate love story set against the severe backdrop of World War II’s Arctic front in Lapland. This Runeberg Prize–winning book became the year’s most widely read title in Finland, and translation rights have been sold to nineteen countries. A feature film adaptation premiered in September 2015. Her collection of short stories, Piippuhylly (The Pipe Collector), followed, featuring many similar themes to The Midwife. Kettu’s novel Yöperhonen (Hawk Moth) is a tale of tenacity and survival spanning to the bare landscapes of northern Europe and the fringes of central Asia. Translation rights have been sold to nine countries. The Midwife is her English debut.
Orphaned into an unforgiving foster home and raised as an outsider, Weird-Eye shoulders her unflattering nickname. She relies on her vivid imagination to sustain her work as a midwife bringing newborns into the world while World War II overruns her native Finland, desecrating life. She finds herself drawn to the handsome, otherworldly Johannes Angelhurst, a war photographer working for the SS. To be near him, Weird-Eye—whom Johannes lovingly calls Wild-Eye—volunteers to serve as a nurse at the prison camp where he has been assigned.
From the brutality of the camps to the splendor of the aurora borealis above the Arctic Sea, The Midwife tells of a stormy romance, the desolate beauty of a protective fjord, and the deeply personal battles waged as World War II came to an end.