Search results for "ringell"

From A to Z

31 March 2001 | Authors, Reviews

Susanne RingellSusanne Ringell’s new work is the shortest of the books published in 2000. It easily disappears on the bookshelf if one doesn’t carefully remember where one put it. Only 62 pages. Yet it constructs a whole civilisation and a humanity.

Av blygsel blev Adele fet (‘It was embarrasment that made Adele fat’) is an ABC for grown-ups. At each letter we meet a person. At ‘A’ we encounter Adele, who grows as fat as she is shy. She carries 78 kilos of shyness inside her, and she eats until her body is the same weight. At ‘W’ we meet Walter, who runs away from the zone therapist’s clinic to the restaurant. He is in no doubt as to what does body and soul good: a rare beef steak, in spite of his wife’s pleas in favour of the beneficial therapy. And at ‘E’ and ‘F’ we meet Egil and Folke: two shy men waiting for a train – and for a long period of waiting to end.

Susanne Ringell gives her readers an entire alphabet; she restores to us the foundation for our structuring of language and the world around us. But a language without people would be dead. So each letter is a person; each letter is coloured by a human fate that seldom figures largely in the history books, but on which Susanne Ringell confers dignity. The people we encounter in the book are lonely. That is certainly nothing new in literature – but Ringell has an unusual gift of being able to create dignity around the most bizarre creatures. More…

Portraits in miniature

30 September 2006 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

Susanne Ringell is an actress who never learned to enjoy the limelight. After ten years on stage she left it in order to concentrate on writing. She made her debut in 1993 with short stories, but by then she had already aroused attention with plays for stage and radio. She has also continued to write drama. It is hard to say what role her years in the theatre have played, but it does at least look as though the profession has left its mark in two important ways.

One is a close connection with the spoken word, which expresses itself as a sure sense for dialogue, but also as a strong interest in linguistic idioms. Worn-out phrases permeate the often slightly absurd scenes that are served up, and in Ringell’s work they seem to be just as much a source of inspiration as a means of expression. More…

Bodies and souls

30 June 1999 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

Åtta kroppar (‘Eight bodies’) contains eight stories: Susanne Ringell would really have liked to include the reader’s body in the title, but then the figure nine in the title would have perhaps been associated with the expression ‘nine lives’ – like the cat’s – and she did not want that.

Ringell is not one to fall for a cheerful, pedagogical optimism, and her consciousness of the physical is at the same time a consciousness of each person’s exposed vulnerability. Exposed in a literal sense is the ‘central character’ in Vara sten (‘Be stone’, 1996) which is a collection of statements by a stone which has lain in a cornfield since time immemorial. The stone has a fixed position, with a point of view that is given once and for all. The stone is also infertile; it has to make do with looking at the productive cornfield or with being a place for loving couples to lie. More…


25 November 2014 | Authors, Reviews

Susanne Ringell. Photo: Anders Larsson

Susanne Ringell. Photo: Anders Larsson

Dreams about and in the Eternal City. Leonard Cohen who plays a shanty by the Swedish poet Dan Andersson on the lute. The narrator of these prose poems gives birth to a daughter who is as small as a fountain pen, but perfect and just the right size – and she brings up a litter of puppies too.

This and much more is included in the wonderful new collection of prose poetry, Tärnornas station – en drömbok (‘The Lucia Maids’ station – a book of dreams’, Ellips, 2014) by Susanne Ringell (born 1955), one of the most personal voices in Finland-Swedish literature today. After an early career as an actress, she made her debut with a short story collection in 1993, and since then she has written short prose of different varieties, poetry, and plays. In Ringell’s work there is nothing amiss in the style and language, in the audacious combinations, in the chronicled sadness and the unwaveringly discrete humour. With fantastic clarity she approaches the most elusive of motifs, the deepest content of the soul, making it vivid and recognisable. More…

Aquatic escapades

12 November 2010 | Reviews

Susanne Ringell. Photo: Anders Larsson

First about the form: the wavy, turquoise cover of Vattnen (‘Waters’), Susanne Ringell’s third collection of short stories, is protected by a layer of waxed paper that looks like a thin film of ice.

Inside the book, water flows everywhere: the twelve stories are set in it or near it, or mimic it in form. The water symbolises a fundamental force, a consolation, but also an elusivity. The characters in the stories exist in a kind of volatile, intermediate state – they are heading for a crisis or are in the moment immediately after one.

Since 1993 Ringell (born 1955) has produced short story collections, poetry, prose poetry, mini-stories and a novel. In them, as in Vattnen (Söderströms, 2010), Ringell’s  language is her own: beautiful, robust and fragile, vivid, subtle and at the same time practical. More…

Girls just want to have fun

3 October 2013 | Essays, Non-fiction, On writing and not writing

In this series, Finnish authors ponder the complexities of their profession. Susanne Ringell describes her work as sailing on sometimes stormy seas – without a skipper certificate, but with conviction

We are such stuff as dreams are made on; / and our little life is rounded with a sleep. (William Shakespeare, The Tempest.) In Swedish – my mother tongue and the language in which my pencil writes – the play is called Stormen, ‘The storm’. There are a lot of storms on the sea of dreams. The sky suddenly grows dark, and deceptive whirlwinds blow up, there are cold shivers and tornadoes, there is the Bermuda Triangle and the mighty chasm of the Mariana Trench. In its southern part is the world ‘s deepest marine environment, Challenger Deep, 11 kilometres. Our boats are small and fragile, and it ‘s a miracle they haven’t capsized more often.

It’s a miracle that in spite of it all we still so frequently reach our home harbour, that we arrive where we were bound for. Or somewhere else, but we do get there. We come ashore, we come ashore with what we set our minds on. More…

A dictionary of human destinies

31 March 2001 | Fiction, Prose

Short stories from Av blygsel blev Adele fet (‘It was embarrasment that made Adele fat’, Söderström & Co., 2000)


It was embarrassment that made Adele fat. It wasn’t from hunger that her fridge-fumbling fingers began to grow nimble, but from confusion. And it was never knowing what her tongue ought to say that led her to the concrete business of the fridge. Her tongue certainly knew all about tasting. It could feel her teeth chewing even if it didn’t know how to speak. It became a better and better judge of brussels sprouts and speckled sausage. The rest was just good morning and thanks, thanks and goodbye and nice day. More…

Adam, Eve and vegetarianism

30 September 2006 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Short prose from En god Havanna. Besläktad (‘A good Havana. Kith and kin’, Söderströms, 2006). Introduction by Bror Rönnholm


My alter ego has relatives who have bad teeth and the names of Greek gods. They live in ramshackle houses in suburbs which the taxi drivers can’t find, dangerous ex-no man’s lands in a rapid metastasis into concrete. They are wild and threatened with extinction, they are Finland-Swedish working class. Disorganised, of course they’re disorganised, my alter ego’s relatives never organise themselves. They don’t form part of any community other than their own. They go to sea and they breed, they buy shuteye dolls in whore ports and return home in grand style, always at night, always one surprising night when no one is expecting them. The women raise a cry of joy, the children go leaping barefoot, and the dog, which is called Zeus-Håkan, is quite beside himself. There’s a party. There’s no school that day. At twilight the women travel to their jobs in key factories and warehouses. When they come home the party continues and in the outside toilet there are new pictures of new places. My alter ego’s relatives have dyed hair and prominent busts in tight-fitting silver nylon jumpers. They pay for my alter ego’s father’s education so he can become middle class. They are proud of him. When we go to visit them they dress up. They clap their hands and the nail varnish peels as they loudly, just a shade too loudly, shout OH, oh splendid, such fine guests! My alter ego’s father is grateful and confused. He has long ago paid it back, paid the money back, and now what’s left is only what cannot be repaid.

With the passage of the years my alter ego’s working-class relatives are disappearing from my alter ego’s life. I miss them. More…

Cause of death

30 June 1999 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short story from Åtta kroppar (‘Eight bodies’, Söderströms, 1998). Introduction by Ann-Christine Snickars

It was a bailer, a blue one. There they were, he, she, the bailer and a stormtossed net on the stern board of a hired boat. The boat had come with the cottage and the cottage with ‘Autumn archipelago package. Now nature is aglow.’

And it was aglow.

Masses of foliage and apples, damson and shiny russula spread out around them in all their glory. It happened everywhere, that glowing. Wherever one turned one’s gaze there was something ready to be picked or ready to fall, ready in general. Those first days they had, at least to each other, she to him, feigned enthusiasm about all this ripe richness, but that time was over.

Their time of fire and flames was over. More…

Seekers and givers of meaning: what the writer said

2 October 2014 | This 'n' that

kirjaimet‘All our tales, stories, and creative endeavours are stories about ourselves. We repeat the same tale throughout our lives, from the cradle to the grave.’ CA

‘Throughout a work’s journey, the writer filters meanings from the fog of symbols and connects things to one another in new ways. Thus, the writer is both a seeker of meaning and a giver of meaning.’ OJ

‘Words are behind locks and the key is lost. No one can seek out another uncritically except in poetry and love. When this happens the doors have opened by themselves.’ EK

‘I realised that I had to have the courage to write my kind of books, not books excessively quoting postmodern French philosophers, even if that meant laying myself open to accusations of nostalgia and sentimentality.’ KW

‘If we look at the writing process as consisting of three C:s – Craft, Creativity and Chaos – each one of them is in its way indispensable, but I would definitely go for chaos, for in chaos lies vision.’ MF

‘In the historical novel the line between the real and the imagined wavers like torchlight on a wall. The merging of fantasy and reality is one of the essential features of the historical novel.’ KU

‘The writer’s block isn’t emptiness. It’s more like a din inside your head, the screams of shame and fear and self-hatred echoing against one another. What right have I to have written anything in the first place? I have nothing to say!’ PT

‘…sometimes stanzas have to / assume the torch-bearer’s role – one / often avoided like the plague. / Resilient and infrangible, the lines have to / get on with their work, like a termite queen / laying an egg every three seconds / for twenty years, / leaving a human to notice / their integrity. ’ JI

In 2007 when  Books from Finland was a printed journal, we began a series entitled On writing and not writing; in it, Finnish authors ponder the complexities, pros and cons of their profession. Now our digitised archives make these writings available to our online readers: how do Claes Andersson, Olli Jalonen, Eeva Kilpi, Kjell Westö, Monika Fagerholm, Kaari Utrio, Petri Tamminen and Jouni Inkala describe the process? Pain must coexist with pleasure…

 From 2009 – when Books from Finland became an online journal – more writers have made their contributions: Alexandra Salmela, Susanne Ringell, Jyrki Kiiskinen, Johanna Sinisalo, Markku Pääskynen, Ilpo Tiihonen, Kristina Carlson, Tuomas Kyrö, Sirpa Kähkönen – the next, shortly, will be Jari Järvelä.

You may say I’m a dreamer

25 November 2014 | Fiction, poetry

Prose poems from Tärnornas station – en drömbok (‘The Lucia Maids’ Station – a dream book’‚ Ellips, 2014). Introduction by Michel Ekman

I nurse a very small, perfectly formed child. It’s a girl. She smiles openly at me, even though she is so small. There is no doubt, neither about that nor anything else. The girl is the size of a nib pen, and just as exclusive. The nursing is going very well, it doesn’t hurt, and she can suckle without any problems. We are both at ease and yet awake, not introspective. The girl has intelligent eyes.

The milk keeps flowing.

Nothing runs dry.

Everything is obvious and neither of us is surprised. Just the fact that she is so small. Like a fountain pen. She is swathed in strips of bird cherry white bandages – like the ones mum had in her summer medicine cabinet – a cocoon, a chrysalis, but she’s not cramped, just secure. It smells good around us. I nurse my daughter who is perfect and the right size.



The guest event

12 November 2010 | Fiction, Prose

A short story from Vattnen (‘Waters’, Söderströms, 2010)

It was a lagoon. The water was not like out at sea, not a turquoise dream with white vacation trimming on the crests of the waves. This water was completely still and strange, brown yet clear, sepia and umber, perhaps cinnamon, possibly cigar with the finest flakes of finest wrapper. Clean. This water of meetings was clear and clean in a non-platonic, remarkably earthbound way.

Sediment and humus, humus floating about in the morning sun.

It felt comforting, as if the water didn’t repel the foreign bodies as a matter of course, didn’t immediately suppress the other particles and sanctimoniously hasten to force anything that wasn’t water, anything that could be interpreted as pollution and encroachment, down to the bottom and let it dissolve and die all by itself. This water sang its earth-brown song of unity without thereby becoming any less water than water-water was.

Helena felt cold. More…