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5 February 2015 | This 'n' that

Eeva Kilpi

Eeva Kilpi. Kuva: Veikko Somerpuro

When we first published this piece, evacuation in Europe was a distant memory. The violent events that were to take place in what was then still Yugoslavia – Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Kosovo – were still to come.

Reading Kilpi’s description of her departure from eastern Karelia as an 11-year-old girl in 1939 with these more recent events in mind makes her evocation of the as-yet-unshattered familiarity of everyday life, the fragility of her prayers that everything will be all right, all the more poignant.

Kilpi (born 1927) is a poet, short-story writer and novelist who shot to international fame with her experimental, erotic novel Tamara (1972; English translation Tamara). She won the Runeberg Prize in 1990 for Talvisodan aika (‘The time of the winter war’), from which this extract is taken.


The digitisation of Books from Finland continues apace, with a total of 355 articles and book extracts made available online so far. Each week, we bring a newly digitised text to your attention.


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