[review] Seita Vuorela: The Snow 

Vuorela, Seita
The Snow
WSOY 2016
ISBN 978-951-0-41849-9

The Snow was the last novel written by the internationally acclaimed writer Seita Vuorela (1971-2015) before her sudden passing. Vuorela’s close friend and colleague Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen finished the novel which was published after the writer’s death as a tribute to writer’s life and unique writing.


The Snow is young adults’ fiction novel. It focuses on two young immigrants: Siamak and Atisha. Siamak, named after his deceased relative, tries to shake off the immigration label from his shoulders. In order to escape the threats that awaited her in Iran, Atisha has arrived in Finland with a forged passport. Atisha finds Siamak to be just the kind of person she needs and has dreamed of meeting. Siamak, however, thinks Atisha reminds him too much of his own roots and background, of all the things he tries to get rid of in Finland.

Siamak does not want to be labelled as an immigrant (’mamu’), or a raghead, any more than he is must. He wants to play ice hockey with Finnish kids, drink alcohol, smoke and have fun. He does not want to have Atisha, dressed in her hijab, standing beside him, highlighting that they don’t belong in Finland and that they were not born here or raised here. Both Atisha and Siamak have their own demons to deal with.

In addition to the story of Siamak and Atisha, Vuorela has a version of the fairytale ”Snow Queen” into the book as Atisha writes about it in her blog. The additional story of Snow Queen opens a whole new dimension to the book, which reveals itself gradually chapter by chapter.

It is reasonable to question if a Finnish-born writer is able to depict the lives of two young immigrants. It might be even justified to question a Finnish-born writer’s right to do so. However, Vuorela’s approach is to discuss the matters on a broad, universal level and it does not pretend to be anything else that it actually is.

The Snow was nominated for Finlandia Junior Award in 2016. It received the Readers’ Choice Award.

Thank you, Seita Vuorela, for all your wonderful books and all possible worlds that you have showed your readers! You showed us what young adults’ literature can achieve at its best!

Suvi Oksanen


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