Katri Lipson was born in Helsinki in 1965. After secondary school, she studied medicine in Sweden and graduated from the Medical School of Uppsala University in 1993. Since then, she has been working as a doctor in Sweden, Africa and Finland. She has always written, including fairytales, short stories, poems, plays and novels. Her debut novel, Cosmonaut (Kosmonautti), was nominated for the respected Finlandia Prize in 2008 and won the Helsingin Sanomat Debut Book of the Year Award in 2008. Her second EUPL-winning novel, The Ice-Cream Man (Jäätelökauppias), was published in 2012. Her third novel Detroit (2016) was an NHL tragedy, and her latest novel The Saddest Play (Kaikkein haikein leikki, 2019) was a mysterious roll play in a spa town. She lives with her family in Vantaa, Finland.
EUPL Year 2013 | Winning Book
(THE ICE-CREAM MAN)
Jäätelökauppias (The Ice-Cream Man) is a playful and charming story, mostly situated in the Czechoslovakia of the 1940s and 1950s, but also progressing to the present day. A film crew is making a new movie. The director wants to work without a script and the film is made in chronological order so that the actors cannot guess the destinies of their characters. The actors are making up and living the lives of their characters at the same time – but can the life of these fictional characters become more real than reality itself? And what is, after all, the difference between real and invented or fictional experiences? In this novel, life is seen as a collection of details and stories, and history conducts a fascinating dialogue with the present. A man and a woman with false identification papers provide the focus for events. Without knowing each other, they agree to marry and try to find a safe place to live in the countryside. Fear and desire, weakness and strength go hand in hand in their story. When the actors start to understand the improvised lives of the characters they are playing, these main heroes start to lead lives of their own. Thomas and Esther Vorszda begin a life together with help of a widow named Mrs Němcová. As time goes by, new characters enter the story, including Jan Vorszda, his Swedish wife Kerstin and their daughter Gunilla, who travels from Sweden back to his father’s hometown to find piles of mysterious letters. During the story, the city of Olomouc stays at the centre of events: the story is rooted there and grows from there. The destinies of characters intertwine with each other and the imagery becomes rich with meaningful details: in this world, there are no coincidences at all.
EUPL | Video