Archive for September, 1999

In search of an identity

Issue 3/1999 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

‘You will be sorry, at least by the time you reach the gates of the Underworld, if you do not read this book,’ threatened the critic of the science-fiction and fantasy magazine Tähtivaeltaja (‘Star-traveller’) in his review of Maarit Verronen’s novel Pimeä maa (‘Out of the Land of Darkness’) in 1995. Verronen’s writing lies somewhere on the borderland between fantasy and science-fiction, the events of Pimeä maa are set in an unrecognisable primal time, in some unrecognisable and barren tundra landscape. More…


Issue 3/1999 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short story from Löytöretkeilijä ja muita eksyneitä (‘The explorer and other lost people’, Tammi, 1999). Introduction by Soila Lehtonen

The stranger met Delina at a development organisation’s work camp, but Delina was not a volunteer. Delina lived in the country permanently.

The stranger did not spend very much time in Delina’s company. His evenings were spent with fellow-volunteers in the village cafe, where Delina’s parents did not allow her to go. During the day, both of them worked in their separate ways: Delina at home and the stranger in the work camp’s fields.

The stranger did, however, get to know the girl well enough to hear that she was in love with a soldier called Zmiri from the nearest garrison. This soldier was arrested once when he and his comrades drunkenly molested volunteers – but Delina knew nothing of the case. More…


30 September 1999 | Authors, Interviews

Leena Krohn

Photo: Liisa Takala

In Leena Krohn’s novel, Pereat mundus (1998) the central role is played by a number of characters called Håkan. All of them are different, living in different times and different places, but they are still Everymans: you and me. In the following e-mail interview, Maria Säntti asks Krohn about her relationship with language, imagination, the world – and virtual reality

Date: Fri Jul 23 18:04:24 1999 To: Leena Krohn <> From: Maria Santti <> Subject: Let the interview begin!

Dear Leena,
I have just read Pereat mundus, which I like very much. I have many questions to ask you about it; I shall try to gather my thoughts, but I think I am troubled by the problem of the first sentence. I am alarmed even to contemplate the maze of questions and answers the first question will lead us to.

Over the past thirty years you have published a couple of dozen collections of poetry, short stories and essays, and, since Tainaron (1985), ‘novels, sort of’. This is how  Pereat mundus defines its own genre on its title page. Sometimes your works incline toward novels, as in Umbra, 1990, sometimes toward collections of short stories – Matemaattisia olioita ja jaettuja unia (‘Mathematical creatures and shared dreams’, 1992) and sometimes collections of essays – Rapina ja muita papereita (‘Rustle and other papers’, 1989). How did you find this open ‘epistolary novel’ form for your work? More…

The son of the chimera

30 September 1999 | Fiction, Prose

A short story from Pereat mundus. Romaani, eräänlainen  (‘Pereat mundus. A novel, sort of’, WSOY, 1998)

I was born, but not because anyone wanted it to happen. No one even knew it was possible, for my mother was a human being, my father a chimera. He was one of the first multi-species hybrids.

Only one picture of my father survives. It is not a photograph, but a water-colour, painted by my mother. My father is sitting in an armchair, book in hand, one cloven hoof placed delicately on top of the other. According to my mother, he liked to leaf through illustrated books, although he never learned to read. He is wearing an elegant, muted blue suit jacket, but no trousers at all. Thick grey fur covers his strong legs, right down to his hoofs. Small horns curve gracefully over his convex forehead. Striking in his face are his round, yellow eyes, his extraordinarily wide mouth, his tiny chin and his surprisingly large but flat nose. More…