Joe Chayefski has got what he always wanted: a reputation as one of America's top neuroscientists, a beautiful wife and two perfect daughters. But his carefully created idyll is threatened when his lab is targeted by animal rights activists. The attack is followed by a phone call from Joe's ex-wife in Finland. Two decades have passed since he abandoned Alina and their young son, Samuel, returning to America to advance his career. Now Samuel is somewhere in the States, and Alina fears he is looking for revenge.
As Joe struggles to protect his new family from the increasing threat of violence - and to save his eldest daughter from the clutches of an unscrupulous tech company - he is forced to reconsider his priorities and take drastic action to save those he loves.
'Contemporary literature simply doesn't get better than this. A stunning work.' * Helsingin Sanomat, Finland * 'A portrait of our society and a futuristic thriller, the Finnish writer Jussi Valtonen draws a picture of our times as brilliant as it is chilling.' * L'Express, France * 'One of the most extraordinary books of recent times.' * Konyvutca, Hungary * 'Valtonen creates a frightening dystopian suspense that keeps readers spellbound, all the while inciting them to reflect on ethics and morals.' * L'Obs, France * 'An ambitious, nuanced plea for compassion.' * De Standaard, Belgium * '...a thrilling, full-fledged, revolutionary, well-crafted work.' * Vilmos Csanyi, Est Ujsag, Hungary * 'They Know Not What They Do is a great novel that shows ambition and the willingness to take risks.' * Sand am Meer, Austria * 'They Know Not What They Do speaks to a large audience. There are few contemporary novels that can address both adolescents and middle-aged people, university professors and young green activists, parents and children, Europeans and Americans. [...] Different opinions collide, but no one is right and no one is wrong. They simply see things differently, as if they were living in another dimension. That's what their tragedy is about.' * Olvass bele literary blog, Hungary * 'They Know Not What They Do is an arresting study of the relationship between science and ethics, and of people's inability to communicate with one another.' * Finlandia Prize 2014 jury *
Jussi Valtonen is an author and psychologist from Helsinki, Finland. He studied neuropsychology in the United States and screenwriting in the UK. His previous works include two novels and a short story collection.
Kristian London is an American translator who divides his time between Seattle and Helsinki.