Two recently broken up queer co-workers, Ava and Jules, discover that the monolithic Swedish furniture store they’ve been working for has been concealing the existence of wormholes that frequently appear in their furniture showroom. When an elderly customer becomes lost in the multiverse, Jules and a reluctant Ava are volunteered to find the missing grandma, or a suitable replacement from another world.
There isn't a word wasted in Nino Cipri's Finna. For a book about travelling through nightmarish labyrinths that cut and twist between worlds, it's remarkably straightforward ... I tore through this book in knuckle-biting delight. The contrast between the wacky extra-dimensional (and often terrifying) hijinks and LitenVärld's soul-depleting mundanity is fresh and lovely ... But the shenanigans are not the point; they function best as a sly, winking backdrop to the deeply moving character work ... The experience of reading Finna,/em> is smooth and seamless; I found myself thinking that it would make a great screenplay, then was smugly pleased to learn from the acknowledgements that it started out as one. There's a cinematic clarity to its movements, a deft pace to the action, and moments of needle-sharp insight that left me breathless ... But it's funny, too! There's a resilient thread of humor running throughout it .... Come for the deliciously bizarre premise, stay for the anti-capitalism and compellingly, messily real queer relationship. Don't lose sight of the exit. Be suspicious of fuzzy chairs.
The most common relationship arc that one finds in fiction tends to be a fresh meeting that grows toward a romantic or, less often, platonic pairing-up. It’s exceedingly rare to read about the other kind of process, where a romantic relationship has already dissolved and the involved parties are trying to hash their way into a friendship—but that’s the thoroughly satisfying path Cipri has taken with Ava and Jules in Finna ... as a queer reader, I’m soothed and delighted simultaneously to see this fraught and feeling-full experience reflected as the significant emotional arc of such a rambunctious, socially critical romp of a novella ... The deeply queer content and context of Finna isn’t just about Ava and Jules, either. Instead, the queerness of the novella is reflected in its way of thinking, of approaching life, of being friends and being critical. It’s not window-dressing but life-blood. Cipri’s approach to labor, love, politics, and potentiality are all imbued with a wondrous sense of complexity and questioning. This sense of possibility also drives the fast pace of the plot without losing any of the illustrative, rich political background ... Cipri writes a wild chase through universes...while giving us a substantially realized emotional arc that crosses several characters as well as critiquing the crushing state of labor and neoliberalism in the background. Finna is doing a lot, and it’s doing that ‘a lot’ very well—tightly written, elegantly described, and comedic without ever losing its serious attention on the all-too-human experience of heartbreak and the changeable self.
the tone shifts easily into horror-suspense mode, but in a winking manner that suggests R.L. Stine more than Stephen King. Throughout, though, the bantering relationship between the queer Ava ('her') and the nonbinary Jules ('them') gets tested in a way that seems to point to a facile reconciliation-under-stress ending, but Cipri is too clever to let us off that easily. While some of the secondary characters, like the officious, by-the-book manager Tricia, seem drawn from the standard bad-workplace playbook, both Ava and Jules are complex and edgy enough to lend Finna a rather touching human dimension beneath the well-targeted satire and the surreal adventures.