Archive for March, 2005
A short story from Jussi ja Lassi (‘Jussi and Lassi’, WSOY, 1921). Introduction by Pekka Tarkka
One winter evening, Lassi, who was six, asked: ‘Can’t we go out, mother?’
‘It’s late already,’ she said.
‘We’ve been inside the whole day practically,’ said Jussi, who was seven. ‘It gets on my nerves.’
‘Gets on your nerves, does it? Well, boys, you’ll soon be off in bed,’ she said, ‘so you won’t need to get nervy.’
‘Not off to bed – not yet, it’s not yet, not…’ Lassi broke off, trying to work it out.
‘It’s not six yet,’ Jussi said.
‘No, it isn’t,’ their mother said; ‘but you’ll have to stay in your room and not go charging about here, because visitors are coming.’ More…
Extracts from the novel Den amerikanska flickan (‘The American girl’, Söderströms, 2004). Introduction by Pia Ingström
Doris Night&Sandra Day, Sandra Night&Doris Day: those were their alter ego identities for the game, which also involved the smiles they’d practised in front of the mirror at the bottom of the empty swimming pool, in the house in the muddier part of the woods.
‘We’re two clairvoyant sisters,’ said Doris Flinkenberg. ‘We got that way because of tragic circumstances. The poltergeist phenomenon. Do you know what that is?’
Sandra Wärn shook her head, but looked expectantly at Doris, the perennial crossword – solver, with dictionary to hand, who continued. ‘It’s when the innocent child has been badly abused and has developed supernatural powers in order to survive. Powers to see behind what’s there,’ Doris Flinkenberg explained. ‘To see what no one else can see.’
‘You and I, Sandra,’ Doris confirmed. ‘We were badly abused. I with my scars and you with your tragic family background, your mother and her lover, all of that. You and I, Sandra, we know what it is to suffer.’ More…
A short story from Lugna favoriter (‘Quiet favourites’, Söderströms, 2004)
We were in the space age, the age that came and went, the age of space and great dreams, when space was what we talked about and space was what the papers wrote about, and about Vietnam and protests and revolution, in articles precocious and prematurely old children spelled their way through, children living in the mixed forests of the North which had recently been transformed into gleaming suburbs where ink-caps, puffballs and parasol mushrooms still grow in the backyards of high-rise tower blocks. It says in the paper that we humans will soon have to move away, leave the Earth because our planet has become overcrowded and almost uninhabitable, and space and the eternity of space are waiting for us and we have engineers of the highest class who will soon solve such small problems as still remain. It’s not a question of forests of mixed trees or ink-caps or parasol mushrooms or other earthly things, it’s a question of it being too late now, that we must go further, first to the moon and then to Mars and Andromeda and further still, and here are some of the key words and phrases: space programme, space race, Apollo, Vostok, Tereshkova and Glenn. For humanity has dreams, dark mixed visions and a nagging and not easily extinguished sense of life’s inscrutability and greatness, but down here all goes on as before, we kill each other, we kill our fellow men in jungles and marshes, we kill them amid rugged mountains and in snow-clad forests, we poison them and blow them to pieces, we kill them in dark backstreets and in ramshackle wooden hovels and in mighty marble palaces where the bath-taps glitter with gold. Only a chosen few are able to escape, and to do this they have to set off upwards into a coolness, and seek out a darkness and solitude where there will be no anxiety or feelings of guilt. But before they can get there they must face opposition of a magnitude that can only be overcome by a fierce rush of power, and before the rocket can start it sits and breathes out smoke and gases and fire for a good thirty seconds before lifting off slowly and reluctantly as if unwilling to leave its home planet, as if it hasn’t the slightest desire to go, but when it gets under way it travels at incomprehensible speeds over unimaginable distances, it’s only 108 years since Lenoir invented the internal combustion engine and we are already up in space where it’s silent and cool and peaceful, just a little anxiety in case some instrument fails, in case some double safeguard shows itself insufficient, otherwise nothing, just weightlessness and silence, just the oceans and deserts and mountain-chains on the surface of our blue globe. Though let’s be fair: the Chinese, who haven’t been up in space, claim that the Great Wall of China must be visible from up there, but on the other hand they have nothing to say about the visibility of new-built suburbs in the miserable little capitals of small underpopulated countries with frosty climates. More…
Poems from Niin kovaa se tuuli löi (‘So bitterly the wind struck’, Tammi, 2004)
Lord, you've promised to come, don't hang back. Here we are already, sitting, me and the dogs, and the others that have to go. Jesus, poor thing, didn't know whom to bloom for, just kept on lugging his cross, pretty as a pony. He came and shot us down, bullets flying without his even noticing. The night was gifted with roses full of love. Through a woman we came here, through a man we leave.