Why did I give a book about the kidnapping and torturing of two young women working an evening shift at a gas station in the middle of nowhere the title ‘Finale‘?
The quick answer is that I didn’t.
Not to begin with. When first published in Danish the book was titled ‘Alt det hun ville ønske hun ikke forstod’ (In English: ‘All the things she’d wish she didn’t understand’) the last sentense in the book but also a hint on a subtheme of the book.
At the time, I also considered calling the book something like ‘The Gas Station’ or ‘The Torture Show’ but decided on the longer and stranger title, giving a short minimalistic novel a very long title.
But why then ‘Finale’? Where did that come from.
To explain that I have to tell you a few things about the story. It’s not a book about football, soccer or any other kind of sport. The finale is only in the background of the story and it’s never clearly stated if it is the Fifa World Cup or something else. It’s really not that important. What is important about it being the night of Denmark playing the grand finale is the impact something like that has on a small country like Denmark. We are only five million Danes. On the odd occation of Denmark reaching a finale in some of the major sports events, the streets will be deserted, everybody watching the game. It’s like two hours of a country wide ghost town. Not a bad setting for a horror story, I figured.
I never considered that finale to be important enough to the story to be part of the book title, and if I did it would have been something like ‘On the Night of the Finale’ or something like that.
But then I sold the movie rights and, well, they always change a few things adapting a book, and among those things were the title as, I guess, the director Søren Juul Petersen wanted less words in the title or something like that. He chose the title ‘Finale‘ instead — and I decided to use that title, presenting the book to the world outside Denmark as, Hell, the book was being filmed. Not something that happens too often to most writers.
You don’t get to decide everything in life, sometimes you just have to play along.
As I write this, the Fifa World Cup is being played in Russia. Denmark has moved on to the round of 16, however, I don’t believe we will win. Maybe, it’s finally time for England to win?