Archive for June, 2002

Time walks slowly

30 June 2002 | Fiction, poetry

When Eira Stenberg (born 1943) began writing in the heat of of Africa, her pen sank into the paper like a tattooing needle into the skin, she says. Her experiences there are alive in her book of poems entitled Siksi seurustelen varkaiden kanssa (‘That’s why I consort with thieves’, Tammi, 2002)

The journey

Wheels clattering, landscape speeding by the window to the past
notebook on lap she understood the journey’s essence,
that it’s a lap she lost in early childhood
when she stood up and set off walking
away from the arms that had carried her from room to room
giving views from on high as if from a mountain:
the apparitions of things, the furnishings, the tints of pictures
and the bedroom mirror they arrived in,
mother and a child, a holy image she met
again in churches and on altars everywhere
as if it were the purpose of the journey: More…

Brighter than darkness

Issue 2/2002 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

An extract from the novel Eksyneet (‘The lost’, WSOY, 2001). Interview by Markus Määttänen

It was a white tiled wall. Too white. Sterile. He wondered how long he had been looking at it. In any case long enough to have forgotten it was a wall. It had changed into a vacuum opening up before him and then shrunk into a tunnel through whose irresistible suction he had hurtled toward the painful images of the past. The past. Yesterday. Almost yesterday. He had stared at the nocturnal entrance, clearly divided in two by the street lamps, and not just that, but now saw only a lifeless and, in its lifelessness, repellant wall. He sighed, rubbed his numb face, pushed himself off the floor and stood up.


Displaced persons

Issue 2/2002 | Archives online, Authors, Interviews

The novels of Asko Sahlberg (born 1964) have introduced a new kind of existential narrative cum thriller to Finnish literature. Interview (2002) by Markus Määttänen

Asko Sahlberg survived a real test of his skills as a writer in the year 2000 in the shape of his novel Eksyneet (‘The lost’). It almost killed him.

‘When I finally finished it, I went on a binge for about a month. A terrible depression, almost as if a child had died. Such a deep low that my private life, too, went to hell, and I split up with the Swedish woman I’d been living with. It was perhaps the most difficult process I’ve been through in my entire life. But it made a damn good book.’

Asko Sahlberg was the literary phenomenon of autumn 2000. A Finn who had lived the life of an outsider in Gothenburg, Sweden, for four years and had deliberately set out to be a writer gave voice to the Scandinavian darkness. More…