New from the archives
Stories from Yhden yön pysäkki (‘One night stand’, 1985) and Unohdettu vartti (‘The forgotten quarter’, 1986). Introduction by Pekka Tarkka
At the beginning of November it really started to freeze. A month earlier than usual. There was little snow to speak of, but the ground froze hard as bone.
Tamed by hunger, reindeer clustered along the roadsides and on the village outskirts. Many of them ended their misery by flinging themselves under the timber-lorries in the evening dark. Bony and bloody carcasses littered the ditches and field-edges.
Then the snowstorms came. It snowed without stop for nearly two weeks. At times the whole landscape was reduced to a white line. Snowdrifts mounted round the houses and up the snow fences. The reindeer carcasses lay about under the snowbanks, waiting for spring. More…
An extract from the novel Jottei varjos haalistu (‘Lest your shadow fade’, 1987). Interview by Erkka Lehtola
‘… learn, then, to like yourself.
Dancing beside your shadow, laugh and play.
Dance always in the sunlight, lest your shadow fade.’
J. Fr. Erlander, 1876 (Erika Kuovinoja’s grandfather)
‘Tis in life’s hardness that its splendour lies.’
J. Fr. E., 1890
Three days before the date fixed for the funeral, the minister directed his steps towards the home of the deceased, trying, as he walked, to compose his thoughts, which were full of righteous Lutheran anger. There were many good reasons for this. On the other hand, nothing that had happened in the past ought to make any difference, now that he was on his way to visit a house of mourning. A visit that called for the exercise of understanding, and even, if possible, kindness. It was a lot for anyone to expect, even of a clergyman. It was not by his own desire that he was paying this call: it was a matter of duty. And this time he was the protagonist. Petulantly, his shoes crunched the gravel. More…