Archive for June, 1994

The dance of the living

Issue 2/1994 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

From Dikter från havets botten (‘Poems from the bottom of the sea’, Söderström & Co, 1993)

Who was he that lived my life and now
is some Other? Who was the little boy
asking questions? Who the teenager asking
who the little boy was? The yellowing photo
remains, and the hand holding the photo. The photograph,
the hand, the image of the boy, the hand’s image. More…

Looking for Moominpappa

Issue 2/1994 | Archives online, Children's books, Fiction

Tove Jansson wrote the first Moomin book in the dark days of Finland’s Winter War in 1939. This extract, from Småtrollen och den stora översvämningen (‘The little trolls and the big flood’, Schildts, 1945, 1991), tells the story of how the Moomins found their home

It had become very hot late in the afternoon. Everywhere the plants drooped, and the sun shone down with a dismal red light. Even though Moomins are very fond of warmth, they felt quite limp and would have liked to rest under one of the large cactuses that grew everywhere. But Moominmamma would not stop until they had found some trace of Moomintroll’s Papa. They continued on their way, even though it was already beginning to get dark, always straight in a southerly direction. Suddenly the small creature stopped and listened. ‘What’s that pattering around us?’ he asked.

And now they could hear a whispering and a rustling among the leaves. ‘It’s only the rain,’ said Moominmamma. ‘Even so, now we must crawl in under the cactuses.’

All night it rained, and in the morning it was simply pouring down. When they looked out, everything was grey and melancholy. More…

For love or money

Issue 2/1994 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Extracts from the novel Paratiisitango (‘Paradise tango’, WSOY, 1993). Introduction by Markku Huotari

The bishops’ dilemma

They are waiting for Blume in the front room of the office. On the sofa sits a man whom Blume has never learned to like. He himself chose and appointed the man, for a job not insignificant from the point of view of the company. Blume has good reasons for the appointment. If he employed only men he liked, the business would have gone bankrupt years ago.

Reinhard Kindermann gets up from the sofa and waits in silence while Blume hangs up his overcoat. Mrs Giesler stands next to Blume. She does not try to help her superior take off his coat, for she knows from experience that he would not tolerate it, but the old man does allow her to stand next to him and wait in silence, like a servant expressing submission. More…

Business as usual

Issue 2/1994 | Archives online, Authors

The writing of Juha Vakkuri has never really belonged in the same category as Finnish agrarian prose or the tradition of prosaic realism. Vakkuri’s novels do, indeed, describe Finland and the country’s slow processes of change, but the changes are mirrored in other parts of the world: Europe, Africa and often elsewhere.

Vakkuri (born 1946) is head of programmes at the Finnish Broadcasting Company, and he has also worked as a development worker in Africa. His work on development projects and in the media appears in his novels as a jigsaw whose pieces, as they fit together, reveal to the reader a corner of the global village. Perhaps the clearest and, in the opinion of some critics, the best of Vakkuri’s international Finnish novels is  Paratiisitango (‘Paradise tango’, 1993). In it, Vakkuri deals with situations familiar from the media world, in which the central problem is the conflict between power and morality. The book contains many frauds and their disclosures: nothing is as it seems. People who consider themselves moral commit crimes, and a victim of terrorism turns out himself to be a terrorist. Everything belongs to one and the same world, which the media both describe and conceal. More…