A queer sci-fi novella about wormholes between multiple universes that can appear in big box furniture stores that are eerily similar to IKEA? If this sounds like something that piques your interest, Nino Cipri’s Finna will probably be your weird and wonderful cup of tea.
Finna follows Jules and Ava, two employees of minimalist furniture chain store LitenVärld. Ava and Jules have recently broken up, and on one fateful day Ava is covering a shift for a sick co-worker when an elderly customer goes missing in the store. After searching all over, they find out that the customer has accidentally gone into a wormhole to another dimension.
The LitenVärld employees are shown a very vintage training video on how this phenomenon can just sometimes happen, and then are introduced to the FINNA device. The FINNA device is used to find lost customers by inserting a personal object of theirs, such as a glove, which will then act as a sort of compass to help find the missing person in one of these wormholes.
Jules volunteers, and of course, Ava is next in line as they are the most junior employees working that day. Together they go through many topsy turvy places trying to find the lost woman.
I thought Finna was wildly funny and creative, particularly Ava’s naming of model bedrooms such as “The Nihilist Bachelor Cube”. At the same time, it’s also a really touching story on how difficult it is to try and live and love as a queer person while working an exhausting, low-paying retail job. As the reader travels to different rooms/dimensions, we learn more about the dysfunctions in Jules and Ava’s relationship, issues of intimacy, vulnerability and mental health that I think many of us can relate to.
My only complaint is that I wish Finna was longer! I was happy to learn that author Nino Cipri also has a book of short stories at WPL. What do you think of books that are set in such iconic chain retail environments like this? I personally am ready for a book like this takes place in a Blockbuster!
— Jackie M.