Archive for March, 1995

The living
 and the dead

Issue 1/1995 | Archives online, Authors

The idea of the primacy of matter has taken on increasingly sombre resonances in
 Tiina Kaila’s work: in her third novel, Koe (‘The experiment’),
 an eccentric doctor seeks to reduce his human guinea-pigs to their primary,
 material, factors – and himself becomes the subject of his cruel experiment.

Tiina Kaila (born 1951) first came to the attention of the wider reading public in 1990 
with Bruno, a novel about the scientist and philosopher Giordano Bruno, whom the
 Inquisition burned at the stake in 1600; Bruno reached the final list for the Finlandia
 Prize. In creating her fictive Bruno, Kaila wished to
 portray how ‘terrifying, absurd and crazy a struggle the perception of the world is’.

Both Bruno and Koe combine acts of extreme violence with esoteric thought. But Kaila
 began as a children’s writer and a poet: her first book, a collection of poems entitled 
Keskustelu hämärässä (‘Conversation at dusk’), appeared in 1975, and was followed by
 children’s books and more poetry. More…

The train

Issue 1/1995 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Extracts from the novel Koe (‘The experiment’; WSOY, 1994). Interview by Tuva Korrström

In the morning a wild rose tapped beseechingly at the window, the wind sighed in the shaft of the chimney, the entire house creaked, pregnant with so great a longing that they had to awaken.

And as soon as they began to speak to each other, the house settled.

‘I should like to see the train,’ Sari said.


‘Because that is the reason why I am here.’

‘I didn’t plan it like that,’ Kari said. More…

Hard to swallow

Issue 1/1995 | Archives online, Authors

An unusually powerful but economically achieved – one might almost say 
minimalist – stylisation of the tension 
between inner and outer is typical of 
the short stories of Kjell Lindblad (born 

Catastrophe is close
 – or has already taken place. The 
disasters take many forms, but they 
always have a dramatic effect, stopping 
the individual dead in his or her ordinary life. ‘Det finns inga hundar längre’
 (‘There are no more dogs’), a short story 
from his first collection, Före sömnen
 (‘Before sleep’), describes some post-
catastrophic state in which keeping 
dogs is forbidden. The reader is left to
 decide the logic and nature of the 
situation. More…

The Earth is a snowball

Issue 1/1995 | Archives online, Prose

A short story from Resa runt solen (‘Journey round the sun’, Schildts, 1994). Introduction by Ann-Christine Snickars

It is a day in August and even though I can sense that the end of the summer is nearer than the beginning, my hours are still as long as days. I am a child and live in the midst of summer’s eternity.

This morning I wake up earlier than anyone else. It isn’t usually that way. Usually Mårten is the first of us two to get up, but now he is asleep with his face turned to the wall. I stay in bed for a while, listening. It is also quiet in the other room, where Mama is asleep. Now I remember that it’s today Papa is coming out to see us after working in the town all week.

I open the curtain a little and see that the sky is blue and not grey with heavy rainclouds as it has been these past few days. I quickly put on my few clothes, a thin striped cotton sweater, my shorts and my brown plimsolls. I push the door open, stand on the steps and breathe a morning air that still smells more of summer than of autumn. I listen to the familiar sounds: twittering birds, the wind in the treetops and crying gulls over the bay. More…