By Susanna Alakoski

It’s the 1950ies. Greta has left her mother Hilda and the old cotton factory in Vasa for a better life in Stockholm. She shares a room with her best friend Aili and works as a nanny and a hospital orderly before her dreams take her even further away: to London.

She finds work with the Conley family, socialises with the nannies from Switzerland, learns English and meets Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra. The cotton factory and textile industry seem far away.

Hilda has stayed back home in Vasa, she is still a cotton angel in an industry that is increasingly threatened by automatization and competition from Sweden and other foreign countries. Greata’s brother Jonnis is still at Algots in Borås and falls in love with Maija at the New in Sweden class. Little does Greta know how the future will take shape and what consequences will come from leaving your hometown.

With The London Girl Susanna Alakoski continues her suite of novels about women’s lives, their work and aspirations during the 20th century. This is a story about industry, love and friendship where everyday lives and world politics are threads in the same weave. 

First published by Natur & Kultur August 2021

Denmark, Forlaget Amanda Books
Finland, WSOY
The Netherlands, Uitgeverij Orlando
Norway, Samlaget
Sweden, Natur och Kultur

“Susanna Alakoski has written a magnificent collective epic […] ‘The London Girl’ is a feat of strength in empathic ability.”
– Aftonbladet

“The plot of novels often resembles weaves. This is particularly true for the Cotton suite. It can be seen as a massive, detailed, tapestry of female textile workers’ hardships and struggles. For such they would be worthy. […] But most of all I like Alakoski’s vital address and, in spite of everything, humour. She writes quickly and precisely, she has well-oiled cogs in the storytelling machinery. […] The second novel keeps the promise of the first one, a novel suite with the same weight as those of Sara Lidman.”
– Dala-Demokraten

“The text thunders, sings and whispers with lust when Susanna Alakoski depict desire, learning and political struggle. It’s the best work I’ve read by her. […] This is rich and powerful literature.”
– Sydsvenskan

“The book provides many beautiful environmental descriptions and personal portraits.”
– Norrbottens-Kuriren

“A strong and moving tale, an important historical document in a dazzling narrative” 
– Kapprakt

“Susanna Alakoski’s second novel in the suite about the Varjola family is women’s-, social- and industrial history, which to a large extent has been ignored, but which is now told with virtuosity, plentifulness, strength and interest by the author”.