Tag: Lapland

Lasse Rantanen & Hannu Tarmio: Lapin sydän [Heart of Lapland]

20 August 2010 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Lapin sydän. Etelän vieraat pohjoisen sielua etsimässä
[Heart of Lapland. Visitors from the south in search of the Northern soul]
Helsinki: Nemo Publishing Company, 2009. 216 p., ill.
ISBN 978-952-240-015-4
€ 33, hardback

Lapland and its myths have always inspired artists and tourists. In this book two  Lapland enthusiasts ponder the things that make Finns from the south return to the north over and over again. Former publisher Hannu Tarmio lost his heart to Lapland 60 years ago; Lasse Rantanen is a graphic designer who is building his own cabin in Savukoski, eastern Lapland. The book is illustrated with his ink-and-abrasive drawings. Tarmio discusses Sámi identity, the history of  log floating and gold panning, river pearl mussel fishing, alcohol use, mythology, and tourism and its impact on the environment. The book contains excerpts from literature on Lapland and portraits of its authors (including Yrjö Kokko, Timo Mukka and Nils-Aslak Valkeapää) and presents indigenous Lapps – one of them was Aleksi Hihnavaara, nicknamed Mosku, a legendary but controversial reindeer herder and hunter who fought the Russian Skolt reindeer poachers.

Walking on ice

Issue 3/2005 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

Valon reunalla (‘At the edge of light’, Teos 2005), the second novel by Maria Peura (born 1970), is an evocation of a small village in Lapland in the mid-1970s. The novel tells the story of the young Ristiina; it is divided into chapters each with its own title, thus underscoring the non-linearity of the narration and giving space to different people, events and environments.

The villagers, the highly respected and the strange, and the borders of the village, concrete and imaginary, surround Ristiina completely; eventually she manages to wriggle free of their grip. The novel begins with the words: ‘Don’t walk on the ice, they used to say, always. Ice can give way, crack open, you’ll fall in and drown. So they always said, that’s why we had to go. There was nowhere else to go.’ More…

Northern exposure

Issue 3/2005 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Extracts from the novel Valon reunalla (‘At the edge of light’, Teos, 2005). Introduction by Kristina Carlson


The village despised all those who left. They hated us too, though we were still only planning our final escape.

We used to escape the village. We would hide from its gaze in the forest or the cemetery where the gravestones were so close together that there was no room for the trees to grow. We knew why the freight train brought the village so many dead and so few living. It was the village’s fault. It had a wicked soul. The grown-ups didn’t know it. We knew it, but no one asked us. Death was within us; it was alive. Asking would have been too dangerous….

On the backs of the headstones we carved our own marks with the end of a knife. We blew out the candles laid at the graves of suicide victims. We worshipped them in the dark and no new candles were ever brought to their graves. The parents of those who died so young drove south. They were looking for stations with real waiting rooms and staff that made announcements. They sat on the hard benches waiting, waiting for the trains to come, at the right time; hoping the years wouldn’t wreak havoc after all, hoping they’d roll slowly back along the tracks, to brighten as they approached the village, giving life once again to their children. And everything could start over. More…

Too much or too little love

Issue 1/1987 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

Rosa Liksom

Rosa Liksom. Photo: Pekka Mustonen.

On the October day last year on which Rosa Liksom‘s second collection of short stories, Unohdettu vartti (‘The forgotten quarter’), was published, she also opened an art exhibition of her own work. The occasion took the form of a kind of cross between performance art and a practical joke. Young women dressed in Finnish military uniforms carried out body searches on every newcomer, changed the guard and drilled, while crackers exploded in the gallery. Many people were of the opinion that it was all no more than a silly joke. Even the art critics were not enthusiastic: they felt that Rosa Liksom’s felt pen work was derivative of a certain Danish artist who himself had copied the cartoon-like stick-men of the so-called Chicago school. But all the same, there emerged from the pictures a funny story about the artist’s adventures among the underground youth of Russia from Leningrad to Vladivostock.

Only her closest friends knew which of the soldiers in the gallery was Rosa Liksom, which her clones. Rosa Liksom is a pseudonym, and her little game of hide and seek has already lasted a couple of years. We know of her that she was born in Lapland, studied anthropology, has travelled in both East and West and lived for a long time in Copenhagen. Her writing was published for the first time in an anthology of the work of young authors, Kalenteri 84 (‘Calendar 84’, 1984). Her first work, the short story collection Yhden yön pysäkki (‘One-night stand’) was published in 1985 and achieved considerable success. More…