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19 February 2015 | This 'n' that

Rosa Liksom

Rosa Liksom. Kuva: Pekka Mustonen

When the pseudonymous Rosa Liksom (born 1958; real name Anni Ylävaara) burst on the Finnish literary scene in 1985 with her first book, Yhden yön pysäkki (‘One night stand’), excitement was intense. For a start, she managed to keep her real identity secret, even when she appeared at public events and book-signings; then, she wrote generally in her native northern Finnish dialect, which hadn’t previously been heard very much in literary circles. Her very short short prose charted landscapes also not much represented in literature – the far north, the uneducated, the dispossessed.

This group of seven stories, from her second book, Tyhjän tien paratiisit (‘Paradises of the open road’, 1989), cover territory which has become familiar in her work: a woman who marries a layabout, a bellicose butcher’s son, a cleanliness fanatic for whom hygiene is more important than human relationships….

Rosa Liksom won the Finlandia Prize in 2011 for Hytti nro 6, which was published by Serpent’s Tail, London, in a translation by Lola Rogers last year.

The digitisation of Books from Finland continues apace, with a total of 360 articles and book extracts made available online so far. Each week, we bring a newly digitised text to your attention.


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