Archive for September, 1982

The Storm • September

Issue 3/1982 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Bo Carpelan. Photo: Charlotta Boucht

Bo Carpelan. Photo: Charlotta Boucht

Extracts from Jag minns att jag drömde (‘I remember dreaming’, 1979)

The Storm

I remember dreaming about the great storm which one October evening over forty years ago shook our old schoolhouse by the park. My dream is filled with racing clouds and plaintive cries, of roaring echoes and strange meetings, a witch’s brew still bubbling and hissing in the memory of those great yellow clouds.

Our maths teacher – a small sinewy woman who seemed to have swallowed a question mark and was always wondering where the dot had gone, so she directed us in a low voice and with downcast eyes as if we didn’t exist – and yet her little black eyes saw everything that happened in the class, and weasel-like, were there if anyone disobeyed her – was writing the seven times table on the blackboard, when a peculiar light filled our classroom. We looked across at the window; the whole schoolhouse seemed to have been suddenly transformed into a railway station, shaking and trembling, a whistling sound penetrating the cold thick stone walls, and at raging speed, streaky clouds of smoke were sliding past the window, hurtling our classroom forward as if we were in an aeroplane. Our teacher stopped writing and raised her narrow dark head. Without a word, she went over to the window and stood looking out at the racing clouds. More…

Writer in demand

Issue 3/1982 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Märta Tikkanen

Märta Tikkanen. Photo: Stefan Bremer

Poems from Århundradets kärlekssaga (The Love Story of the Century)

Märta Tikkanen (born 1935), a Finland-Swedish journalist, teacher and mother of four children, made her literary debut with the novel Nu imorron (‘Now tomorrow’) in 1970. It is a story of the liberation of one woman who breaks free from her traditional role. Her next novels, Ingenmansland (‘No man’s land’, 1972) and Vem bryr sej om Doris Mihailov (‘Who cares about Doris Mihailov’, 1974) brought her fame in Scandinavia, but it was not until her fourth novel, Män kan inte våldtas (Manrape, translated by Alison Weir, Virago, 1978) appeared in 1975 that she made her international breakthrough. To date the book has been translated into eight languages and a film adaptation has been made by Jörn Donner.

Her next work, a cycle of poems called Århundradets kärlekssaga (The Love Story of the Century, 1978) became very popular: it has been translated into seven languages as well as adapted for radio, television and the stage . In 1979 she was awarded the Nordic Women’s Alternative Literature Prize. Die Liebesgeschichte des Jahrhunderts, a monologue play based on Verena Reichel’s translation (Rohwolt Taschenbuch Verlag, 1981) is presently being staged in some twenty theatres in West Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Recently Der Spiegel devoted a page to her career. The American première, directed by Margaret Booker, will take place in Intiman Theatre, Seattle. More…


Issue 3/1982 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short story from Kaksin (‘Two together’). Introduction by Pekka Tarkka

A landlady is a landlady, and cannot be expected – particularly if she is a widow and by now a rather battered one – to possess an inexhaustible supply of human kindness. Thus when Irja’s landlady went to the little room behind the kitchen at nine o’clock on a warm September morning, and found her tenant still asleep under a mound of bedclothes, she uttered a groan of exasperation.

“What you do here this hour of day?” she asked, in a despairing tone. “You don’t going to work?”

Irja heaved and clawed at the blankets until at last her head emerged from under them.

“No,” she replied, after the landlady had repeated the question.

“You gone and left your job again?”

“Yep.” More…

Reality versus morality

Issue 3/1982 | Archives online, Authors

Eila Pennanen

Eila Pennanen. Photo: Anonymous (Suomen Kuvalehti 1965) via Wikimedia Commons

Reviewing Eila Pennanen‘s second collection of essays, which appeared earlier this year under the delightfully ambiguous title of Kirjailijatar ja hänen miehensä (‘The authoress and her… man? … men? … husband?… husbands?’), a critic called attention to the heading she had chosen for her essay on Bernard Malamud: ‘Malamud’s ignoble hero’. His comment on this was that the moral judgment implicit in such a title would be both pointless and valueless if Pennanen had maintained it with logical consistency throughout the essay. If in fact she does no such thing, it is because she knows how to look at a character, however ignoble, with an eye for subtleties and a great deal of psychological insight. This is something one often notices about Eila Pennanen: she is apt to begin by labelling somebody or something ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and even to sound quite defiant about it, but she is never, in the end, content to leave it at that. I once heard her give a lecture on Joel Lehtonen. She startled her audience by the vehemence with which she avowed the feelings of loathing or sympathy aroused in her by characters or events in Lehtonen’s books. Her cheeks blazed as she talked. Then, just as unexpectedly, she chided herself for exaggerating, took back a lot of what she had said, laid bare the reasons for Lehtonen’s contradictoriness, and left her hearers in a condition of fruitful perplexity. Whatever they may have thought or felt about the ‘moral approach’ to criticism, they were left in no doubt as to the wit and intelligence of its leading Finnish exponent. More…