Archive for June, 1989

The lady who could fly

Issue 2/1989 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short story from Kenkää suurempi jalka (‘The foot bigger than the shoe’, 1992)

A day came when she felt she could fly. You used technological gear and gadgets for flying, or meteorological shifts in the air masses: rising currents gave you a weightless ecstasy with the lightest of equipment. But that wasn’t it.

To begin with it was one of those typical flying dreams, which gradually extended into the waking state: she could feel it coming in her sinews, her nervous system, her cortex. She was acquainted with Freud and Jung and the other dream-interpreters of today. Characters in the myths and fairy­tales flew; cruel princesses flew on the wings of the storm; Gogol’s overcoats, Chagall’s lovers, cows and cats flew; and vampires – those last leather-winged flutterings of the prehistoric archaeopterix in the mud of the gene pool. More…

Digging for gold

Issue 2/1989 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Antti Tuuri has found his theme in the life of Finnish émigré communities and their experience in what used to be called ‘the New World’. Uusi Jerusalem (‘The New Jerusalem’, 1988), is about the Finns who migrated to Canada during the Depression, only to find that their utopian dreams had no basis in reality. In the following extract the narrator finds himself and his fellow mineworkers in the middle of the forest at night, on the way by foot to the Kirkland Lake gold mines, where they are going to be strikebreakers. The novel, an ironical tale of life in a new land, follows on from Pohjanmaa (‘Ostrobothnia’, 1982), Talvisota (‘The Winter War’, 1984), Ameriikan raitti (‘The American road’, 1986).

The train pulled up at Swastika station, many a mile from Kirkland Lake, and Hamina said we’d have to press on by foot from the station to the town.

Swastika, he said, meant the crooked cross, but he didn’t know whether there were any of those German Adolf-fanciers around, who were so keen on the sign. He was certain, in fact, the town had got its name long before anyone in Germany had heard of Adolf or his swastika.

We asked why we had to walk from here to the town. Hamina said we’d got to walk because even in Canada vehicles didn’t drive through the backwoods; moreover, it wasn’t a good idea to walk along the Kirkland Lake road: we might meet up with the kind of guys who’d make our arrival at Kirkland Lake seem very unwelcome. More…