Archive for December, 1994

Nothing but air

Issue 4/1994 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Ankkuripaikka (‘Anchorage’; WSOY, 1994) and Sormenjälkiä tyhjässä (‘Fingerprints in the void’, WSOY, 1992)

Images from nature

A sick fox recoils to the deepest corner of his hideout.
His coat’s moulting in tufts, rain’s drenching him, death’s on the way.
A pine stands sentry on the pile of stones, its bright green needles
adorned with dew for this last day. Somehow it’s a celebration.
A crow drops in, and sings a note. ‘Goodbye,’ the forest sighs, and
so does the whole world. A soul’s ecloding from its cellular pupa.
It yelps as it exits: ‘Why? Why are there still stars? Why must I fall so deep?’ More…

The price of a free lunch

Issue 4/1994 | Archives online, Fiction, Interviews

Eeva Joenpelto’s new novel, Tuomari Müller, hieno mies (‘Judge Müller, a fine man’), is the story of a good woman with a bad conscience, and of the small-town, big-business corruption of Finland in the 1980s. (Interview of EJ: 1994)

… the front door of the office building flew open. Men swept out and down the street, as fast-moving, garrulous and laughing as if it had been decided by vote in a council meeting. The entire width of the street was filled with the scent of vigorous, masculine deodorants: thyme, tarragon, gunpowder.

At the end of the 1980s, successful men smelt of gunpowder even in the Finnish boondocks: then, after all, money was on the move, whatever the business – bank management, whirlpool baths or local politics. This last seemed to move significantly closer to business life when the fast-moving and garrulous politicians organised a few benefits for themselves from the flowing stream of money, and no one saw fit to object. Yet. More…

When sleeping dogs wake

Issue 4/1994 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Extracts rom the novel Tuomari Müller, hieno mies (‘Judge Müller, a fine man’, WSOY, 1994). Introduction by Soila Lehtonen

In due course the door to the flat was opened, and a stoutish, quiet-looking woman admitted the three men, showed them where to hang their coats, indicated an open door straight ahead of them, and herself disappeared through another door.

After briefly elbowing each other in front of the mirror, the visitors took a deep breath and entered the room. The gardener was the last to go in. The home help, or whatever she was, brought in a pot of coffee and placed it on a tray, on which cups had already been set out, within reach of her mistress. The widow herself remained seated. They shook hands with her in tum. The mayor was greeted with a smile, but the bank manager and the gardener were not expected, and their presence came as a shock. She pulled herself together and invited the gentlemen to seat themselves, side by side, facing her across the table. They heard the front door slam shut: presumably the home help had gone out. More…

Adieu, Paris!

Issue 4/1994 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

One day an Indian physicist discovers that Paris has disappeared – or, in the words of the French government, has been relocated: ‘it now exists not merely in one place, but in many, perhaps not precisely here or there, but to some extent everywhere’. Extracts from the novel Kadonnut Pariisi (‘Paris lost’, Otava, 1994)

The news of the disappearance of Paris was, at first, an item in the remotest corners of the foreign news pages of the newspapers and in the light feature at the end of the television news – those absurd little stories: an elephant’s escape from the zoo, the mother of four who beat the world record for toothbrush-swallowing or the suicide of a news reporter in the middle of a television broadcast.

Professor Ansari, an Indian physicist, had developed a method for the extremely accurate measurement of the mass of the Earth. His conclusion was that the Earth weighed too little. And, by an extraordinary coincidence, the missing mass was approximately the same as the estimated mass of Paris. The physicist was foolish enough to make his result public and to utter the fateful words: ‘Well, of course the simplest explanation would be that Paris is missing. That it doesn’t exist any more.’ A news item on the subject in the ‘Crazy World’ column concluded with the remark: ‘Professor Ansari is continuing the development of his theory in the government mental asylum in Delhi.’ More…