Your Presence Is Requested at Suvanto
By Maile Chapman
(Graywolf Press, Paperback, 9781555975876, 280pp.)
Publication Date: May 24, 2011
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Sunny Taylor is an American nurse who hides behind a mask of crisp professionalism at a Finnish convalescent hospital called Suvanto. On a late-summer day, a new patient arrives on Sunny’s ward, and soon Suvanto’s reliable calm begins to show signs of strain. As summer turns to fall, and fall to a long, dark winter, the escalating menace of Maile Chapman’s astonishing debut novel builds to a terrifying conclusion.
Maile Chapman's stories have appeared in A Public Space, the Literary Review, The Mississippi Review, and Post Road. She earned her MFA from Syracuse University and is currently a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library.
- Sunny is an American living abroad, as are many of the “up-patients” on her ward. On page 14 the narrator states that “It’s hard to learn the language and it’s hard to penetrate the culture. It takes time to make friends in Finland. . . .It is clearly easier to come here, to the hospital, than to try to adjust.” What role does cultural alienation play in the novel? Why did Sunny choose such a remote and foreign place to live and work? Was she prepared for the challenges?
“[Chapman’s] voice can be coyly unnerving, as if whispering your naughty thoughts for you . . . Eerie and fascinating.” —Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)
“Unputdownable . . . A feminist thriller.” —Vogue
“Shockingly, bracingly good.” —Los Angeles Times
“Genuinely unnerving.” —The New Yorker