Archive for September, 1994

Another darkness

Issue 3/1994 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Kali (Schildts, 1993)

‘Kali is the Liberator. Kali gives protection to those who know her. Kali is the Terrific One, the Destroyer of Time. As the Dark Shakti of Shiva, Kali is Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Kali performs all the physical needs of Shiva. She is the Possessor of the Sixty-four Arts and increases the Joy of the Lord of Creation. Kali is the Pure Transcendental Shakti. Kali is the Night of Darkness.’

Kalika Purana


you show me a distant world
where all the beautiful is mine
you show yourself to me, naked, and whisper:

not the poppy
that murders the heroin addict,

not love
not my dark sister,
that will be the death of your love More…

The ladies’ dining club

Issue 3/1994 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

From the novel Luonnollinen ravinto (‘A natural diet’, WSOY, 1994). Interview by Tuva Korsström

My dear, wise and ever-faithful secretary, colleague, friend and right hand, you who, without counting the hours, have been my helpmeet in many awkward situations, and not only in work matters but in others, all sorts of matters that belong to my private life and particularly those, you have remembered things that I have found hard to remember, like the birthday of my wife or some important colleague, and at Christmas you have always remembered me with some small gift, always different and always carefully chosen, of which I hardly need say how much it has warmed my heart, when I haven’t been able to do better than a single miserable hyacinth. And you have always reminded me of engagements I haven’t been able to keep track of: dentists, barbers, garages, less important and more important receptions, lunches and dinners, but what is most important, and why l am most grateful to you, is that in your generosity and open-mindedness – your eternal femininity – you have understood that a person in my position may sometimes find himself in situations whose consequences he cannot always control, and that he begins to be bothered by all sorts of people, although they should understand from the smallest hint that their company is not required, and you have sensitively but firmly turned them away, sometimes telling a little lie, and you have never, ever taken a moral stand or judged my actions, but have averted your eyes, having made the decision to accept that your boss is anything but perfect. For that reason I wish to express my gratitude to you; but not, however, unreservedly. Our seamless collaboration, my ever-lovable secretary, has meant that something belonging to me has begun to belong to you, that you have become part of me just as I have become part of my wife, even before she touches me with her fork. So I have no doubt that you, too, could appear at the dinner that is soon to be arranged. Bon appetit! More…

Nine lives

Issue 3/1994 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Entire lives flash by in half a page in this selection of very short short stories. Extracts from Elämiä (‘Lives’, Otava, 1994)


Silja was born in 1900. The home farm had been sub-divided many times. Silja threw a piece of bread on the floor. ‘Don’t sling God’s corn,’ said grandmother. Silja got up to go to school at four. In the cart, her head nodded; when the horse was going downhill its shoes struck sparks in the darkness. Silja’s brother drove to another province to go courting. Silja sat in the side-car. ‘The birches were in full leaf there,’ she said at home. Silja went to Helsinki University to read Swedish. She saw the famous Adolf Lindfors playing a miser on the big stage at the National Theatre. Silja got a senior teaching post at the high school. With a colleague, she travelled in Gotland. Silja donated her television set to the museum. It was one of the first Philips models. ‘Has this been watched at all?’ they asked Silja. Silja learned to drive after she retired. She called her car ‘The Knight’. The teachers’ society made a theatre trip to Tampere. Silja looked up her colleague in the telephone directory in the interval. There was no one of that name. More…

Take, eat

Issue 3/1994 | Archives online, Authors, Extracts, Interviews, Non-fiction

Annika Idström interviewed by Tuva Korsström; from Berättelsernas återkomst (The return of the narratives, Söderströms, 1994), a series of interviews, by Tuva Korsström, with contemporary European writers

Tuva Korsström: If one looks at what you have written, it’s had to do with things that no one talks about: mother-hatred, father-fixation, incest-fantasies; child-abuse and maltreatment of women… In general it’s always the unpleasant and depressing things that are made taboo: all our effort goes into normalising life according to a norm of niceness. Yet all these terrible things are there in our subconscious. You bring them out into the light, and it just can’t be very nice. You talk about what we’ve kept secret. Your method can perhaps be compared to psychoanalysis.

Annika Idström: My most recent book is about love, or rather about the possibility of love. It takes its origin not in an image but in my intensive reading of the Swedish psychoanalyst Jurgen Reeder’s book Begär och etik (‘Desire and ethics’).

It’s surprising that psychoanalysis wants to stubbornly cling to the simple idea that love is something the subject in a teleological sense ‘matures’ into unless its path of development has been hedged around by too many difficulties and disappointments. It’s surprising that people go in search of a discourse about love’s fundamental or innate harmony, when instead it ought to be obvious that what we call love is in the best case a ‘symptom’, behind which the individual finds himself torn apart by disparate forces.

Begär och etik