Search results for "jari tervo"

Jari Tervo: Layla

28 October 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Helsinki: WSOY, 2011. 361 p.
ISBN 978-951-0-38277-6
31 €, hardback

Social reality has stepped firmly into contemporary Finnish literature. Many of the new novels deal with economic inequality, immigration, prostitution or human trafficking. In his 13th novel Jari Tervo (born 1959) deals with them all. Layla is a young Kurdish girl whose cruel fate is about to be decided by the men of her family in Turkey. When she flees, Layla ends up in faraway Finland as a prostitute. Another storyline portrays a Finnish woman, Helena, who sells herself in part voluntarily. Tervo shows himself to be a feminist; the men he describes are cold tyrants who see a woman’s body as an object of lust and as merchandise. The novel is tragic and defiant, but also amusing and lively. Tervo’s style involves surprises and ingenious tricks, of which towards the end of the book there are slightly too many. Layla contains a good deal of information about Turkey, Kurdish culture and the people smuggling that takes place on the outer borders of the European Union. Some of the details have already been shown to be inaccurate, but this does not reduce the distressing quality of this story of a human fate.
Translated by David McDuff

Jari Tervo: Koljatti [Goliath]

23 October 2009 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Helsinki: WSOY, 2009. 317 p.
ISBN 978-951-0-35610-4
25 €, hardback

Jari Tervo (born 1959)  writes comic, swiftly paced, linguistically accomplished prose with touches of historicism, philosophy and social commentary. Koljatti is a contemporary satire that prompted a great deal of fuss in the Finnish press for its perceived nastiness: the similarities between its character Pekka Lahnanen, an isolated and beleaguered prime minister, and Matti Vanhanen, the current Finnish Prime Minister, are clear. This novel outlines some crude caricatures, but its critical barbs are aimed not at politics, but rather at the relationship between the media and politics. This book, which describes the events of a single fast-paced weekend, portrays politics as theatre, in which the only thing that matters is how things appear; the media will drop any substantive questions in their relentless pursuit of new sensationalist headlines of politicians’ private lives. The news may not look the same after reading this novel. Tervo is one of Finland’s most popular authors; three of his novels have appeared in translation, in four languages. [Read a short story here.]

Life is elsewhere, but you can get there by taxi

30 June 1996 | Archives online, Authors, Essays, Interviews

Jari Tervo interviews himself, avoiding the subject of his new novel, Pyhiesi yhteyteen (‘Numbered among your saints’)

These light mornings, the writer Jari Tervo bubbles over with springtime after he has written a page or two of his new book and is getting ready to walk to the Thirsty Camel to enjoy a pub quiz, alongside about two pints of well-brewed beer. The birds have come back like boomerangs.

On his way to the shadow of the beer­tap, some people greet him, others stare shyly. The shy starers remind him of the television quiz. Those who do not pay any attention to him are thoroughly acquainted with his work. Tervo has written a Rovaniemi sequence – three novels, a collection of short stories and a collection of poetry – about his home town. Rovaniemi, located on the Arctic Circle, is, for these southerly citizens of Espoo [next to Helsinki], as exotic, remote and startling a place as Haiti, but snowier. More…

A writer like himself

31 December 1998 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

I first got to know Jari Tervo in the early 1980s, when we were both studying to be journalists at the same college. He had already, at that time, published a volume of poetry, but he did not seem to me in the least like a poet. No anaemic appearance, dark, floating hair or incipient beard. Instead, resolutely curly flaxen hair, a good deal of body mass, a grey jacket and funny boots.

Tervo became a good general reporter, particularly fond of the early morning shift on evening newspapers, the ones where you have to wake up at three in the morning. On those shifts you ring round the police stations and ask what criminal homicides have been committed during the night. Another common job is to wake a celebrity or politician up with an early morning call and demand a statement on some issue or another. More…

The way to heaven

30 June 1996 | Archives online, Fiction

Extracts from the novel Pyhiesi yhteyteen (‘Numbered among your saints’, WSOY, 1995). Interview with Jari Tervo by Jari Tervo

The wind sighs. The sound comes about when a cloud drives through a tree. I hear birds, as a young girl I could identify the species from the song; now I can no longer see them properly, and hear only distant song. Whether sparrow, titmouse or lark. Exact names, too, tend to disappear. Sometimes, in the old people’s home, I find myself staring at my food, what it is served on, and can’t get the name into my head. The sun came to my grandson’s funeral. It rose from the grave into which my little Marzipan will be lowered. I don’t remember what the weather did when my husband was buried.

A plate. Food is served on a plate. There are deep plates and shallow plates; soups are ladled into the deep ones. More…

Speaking about the heart

30 June 1991 | Archives online, Articles

New Finnish poetry, translated and introduced by Herbert Lomas

The ‘modernist’ revolution in Finnish poetry is now 40 years old, and the art must be ripe for changes.

Of course, the modernism of post-war Finnish poetry was not – except in Haavikko and to some extent in Saarikoski – extremely modernist. The poets were more interested in their content than their experiments. They were perhaps closer to ancient Chinese poets and early Pound than to Eliot in their elided brief juxtapositions and meditations on nature, society and moment-to-moment transience. The poets picked up a few liberties that unshackled them from metrical and rhyming formalities uncongenial to Finnish stress, syntax and phonemics; and they took off to speak about the heart. That is the strength of this poetry, and its originality, since all originality consists in being oneself – which includes one’s national self, and ultimately other people’s selves. And every generation still has to make a new start, admittedly in new circumstances, with the experience of its forefathers from birth to death. More…

See the big picture?

9 November 2012 | Extracts, Non-fiction

Details from the cover, graphic design: Työnalle / Taru Staudinger

In his new book Miksi Suomi on Suomi (‘Why Finland is Finland’, Teos, 2012) writer Tommi Uschanov asks whether there is really anything that makes Finland different from other countries. He discovers that the features that nations themselves think distinguish them from other nations are often the same ones that the other nations consider typical of themselves…. In Finland’s case, though, there does seem to be something that genuinely sets it apart: language. In these extracts Uschanov takes a look at the way Finns express themselves verbally – or don’t

Is there actually anything Finnish about Finland?

My own thoughts on this matter have been significantly influenced by the Norwegian social scientist Anders Johansen and his article ‘Soul for Sale’ (1994). In it, he examines the attempts associated with the Lillehammer Winter Olympics to create an ‘image of Norway’ fit for international consumption. Johansen concluded at the time, almost twenty years ago, that there really isn’t anything particularly Norwegian about contemporary Norwegian culture.

There are certainly many things that are characteristic of Norway, but the same things are as characteristic of prosperous contemporary western countries in general. ‘According to Johansen, ‘Norwegianness’ often connotes things that are marks not of Norwegianness but of modernity. ‘Typically Norwegian’ cultural elements originate outside Norway, from many different places. The kind of Norwegian culture which is not to be found anywhere else is confined to folk music, traditional foods and national costumes. And for ordinary Norwegians they are deadly boring, without any living link to everyday life. More…

Helsinki Book Fair 2012

25 October 2012 | In the news

The twelfth Helsinki Book Fair opens today at the Exhibition and Convention Centre. Last year the Fair attracted more than 80,000 visitors.

During four days around 700 interviews and discussions with writers will take place on twelve stages, and there will be more than 300 exhibitors in the various fields of literature.

Author Jari Tervo has been nominated the Book Fair Club’s columnist: in his first contribution, entitled ‘Median myllyt’ (‘The mills of the media’) Tervo says, among other things:

‘During the last 30 years the amount of public attention directed at Finnish authors has probably multiplied by ten. How has it affected the sales of literature? Not at all. The sales haven’t multiplied by ten, or even doubled. Has the increased public attention affected the content of literature? I don’t think it has….

‘The media doesn’t churn authors in its mill because literature is so exceedingly important. To the media the authors are a biomass that is able to articulate a touch more juicily than the average celebrity. An author needs less editing. It’s as simple as that.’

This time the featured country is Hungary: the guest writers are György Spiró, Sandor Zsigmond Papp, Vilmos Csaplár, Péter Esterházy and Léda Forgó. There are 30 guests from 11 countries.

The prize Rakkaudesta kirjaan, ‘Out of love for the book’, was awarded posthumously to the writer, critic and editor Jarmo Papinniemi (1968–2012), who, according to the jury of literary experts was an exceptionally versatile professional working in the field of the arts.

Best foot forward

14 May 2010 | This 'n' that

C’est moi. Tribute. Eliza. Muse. Monica. Very Privé, Super Private.

These are names of shoes that women buy in luxury shops on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Six inches or more of heels that cost anything between 500 and 5,000 dollars, make walking torture; but pain is tolerated, as along with the shoes a woman acquires a deeply satisfying feeling of being envied, beautiful and sexy (her toe cleavage has to be clearly visible).

Mirja Tervo (born 1971) is an ethnologist who spent a year and a half selling luxury shoes in Manhattan. Among her fellow sales personnel were a medical doctor, a musician, an actor and a retired baseball pro.

The shoe salon paid no salary, just commission of ten per cent, and the required minimum sale per week was 3,500 dollars. If a sales person failed to sell merchandise worth this sum, he or she was given a loan of 300 dollars, payable immediately when the results improved, and they quickly had to. More…

What Finland read in November

16 December 2011 | In the news

The latest thriller, Teräsleijona (‘Steel lion’, WSOY), by Ilkka Remes (his 15th) was at the top of the November list of best-selling fiction titles in Finland, compiled by the Finnish Booksellers’ Association.

The second place was occupied by Jari Tervo’s Layla, the third by  Minä Katariina (‘I, Catherine’, Otava), a Finlandia Prize -listed historical novel by Laila Hirvisaari. Tuomas Kyrö occupied both the fourth and the tenth place with his novels Kerjäläinen ja jänis (‘The beggar and the hare’, Siltala – a pastiche-style story inspired by Jäniksen vuosi / The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna) and Mielensäpahoittaja (‘Taking offence’, WSOY). Strangely, we think, the Finlandia-winning novel by Rosa Liksom, Hytti no 6 (‘Compartment no 6’, WSOY), was not yet on the list – the day of the awarding was 1 December.

The best-selling list of translated fiction didn’t contain any surprises – Liza Marklund, Jens Lapidus, Paulo Coelho, Henning Mankell, Stephen King – except perhaps for the tenth book, a selection of stories entitled Hyvää joulua, Jeeves! (‘Happy Christmas, Jeeves!’, Teos), by good old P.G. Wodehouse: some of the stories have not been translated into Finnish earlier, hence the delight of local Wodehouse fans.

Among the best-selling books for children and young people were just two foreign names (Thorbjörn Egner, Lisa Jane Smith) and the three at the top were works by very well-known authors: Aino Havukainen & Sami Toivonen, Sinikka Nopola & Tiina Nopola and Mauri Kunnas. (The list is available, in Finnish, here.)

The life and deeds of the late Steve Jobs interested a lot of readers, in Finland as elsewhere, and Walter Isaacson’s translated biography topped the non-fiction list.

Thrills and spills

23 October 2009 | This 'n' that

In September the comic strip Viivi & Wagner by Juba, number two in August on the list of best-selling books (Mitä Suomi lukee, ‘What Finland reads’ – in Finnish only), gave way to Jari Tervo’s political satire Koljatti (‘Goliath’) and to a new thriller by Ilkka Remes (Isku ytimeen, ‘Strike to the core’).

Number three was Kjell Westö’s novel Älä käy yöhön yksin (in Finnish; the original, Gå inte ensam ut i natten, was published in Swedish, Westö’s mother tongue; ‘Don’t go out into the night alone’) and number four Kari Hotakainen’s novel Ihmisen osa (‘The human condition’).

Numbers eight and nine were new thrillers / crime novels by Leena Lehtolainen and Matti Rönkä. Historical novels by Kaari Utrio and Laila Hirvisaari took the fifth and sixth places.

Not surprisingly, the international bestsellers Paulo Coelho, Henning Mankell, Donna Leon and Patricia Cornwell led the translated fiction list.

As for non-fiction, the doings of Finnish Security Police interests people greatly: a history of it from 1949 to 2009 (edited by Matti Simola), entitled Ratakatu 12 (‘Ratakatu street 12’, WSOY) made its way to the top. It was  followed by a biography of the industrial magnate Pekka Herlin of the Kone elevator company, Koneen ruhtinas (‘The prince of Kone’) – and Hitler by Ian Kershaw.

Just business?

24 September 2010 | Letter from the Editors

Money, money, money... Photo: Twid/Wikipedia

Through his work, a writer provides a living for both himself and his publisher. The publisher makes his profit through the work of his writers, and both parties are satisfied. Is this how it goes?

The novel Puhdistus (Purge, 2008) by the Finnish author Sofi Oksanen (born 1977) has been translated into 13 languages, including English, and by now it has sold who knows how many copies.

One would imagine her publisher would like to live happily ever after with his superstar, and perhaps also vice versa – for WSOY (est. 1878) has long been one of the most powerful, as well as the most enlightened, publishing houses in Finland. More…

Men and a woman, too

7 November 2009 | This 'n' that

Lenita AiristoIn October, according to the best-seller list (Mitä Suomi lukee, ‘What Finland reads’), the top seven non-fiction titles included biographies of four Finns – an industrial tycoon (Pekka Herlin, one-time director of the Finnish Kone elevator company), a poet (Paavo Haavikko), and a former Prime Minister (Paavo Lipponen).

The seventh place was held by a book on a woman: Lenita Airisto, winner of a 1950s beauty contest, later a television hostess, celebrity, writer and businesswoman (Lähikuvassa Lenita Airisto, ‘Lenita Airisto in closeup’, by Juha Numminen).

The Finnish fiction list was topped by the latest thriller by Ilkka Remes, Isku ytimeen (‘Strike to the core’). Then came Kjell Westö’s novel Älä käy yöhön yksin (‘Don’t go out into the night alone’, a translation of the Swedish-language original, Gå inte ensam ut i natten) and Jari Tervo’s Koljatti (‘Goliath’). The latest Henning Mankell was number one on the translated fiction list.

Christmas best-sellers in Finnish fiction

13 January 2012 | In the news

Rosa Liksom. Photo: Pekka Mustonen

Most new Finnish books are printed and sold in the autumn, and sales pick up considerably in December. The number one on the December list link: in Finnish only) of best-selling fiction titles in Finland, compiled by the Finnish Booksellers’ Association, is the Finlandia Fiction Prize-winning novel Hytti nro 6 (‘Compartment number 6’, WSOY, 2011) by Rosa Liksom (this is her homepage, also in English).

The Finlandia winner was announced on 1 December, upon which the book shot – from nowhere – to the top of the list.

Laila Hirvisaari’s historical novel, Minä Katariina (‘I, Catherine’, Otava), climbed up from the third place to the second. Number three was a newcomer, a tragic love story entitled Kätilö (‘The midwife’, WSOY), by Katja Kettu, set in the last phase of the Finnish Continuation War (1941–1944).

Jari Tervo’s Layla (WSOY) was in fourth place, while November’s number one,  Ilkka Remes’s thriller Teräsleijona (‘Steel lion’, WSOY), came fifth.

In November Tuomas Kyrö occupied both the fourth and the tenth place with his novels Kerjäläinen ja jänis (‘The beggar and the hare’, Siltala – a pastiche-style story inspired by Jäniksen vuosi / The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna, 1975) and  Mielensäpahoittaja (‘Taking offence’, WSOY, 2010). In December they were numbers six and seven, in reverse order.

Books and roses

23 April 2013 | In the news

logoThe tradition of the international Day of the Book and the Rose derives from 1920s Barcelona, where the tradition was for men to give women roses while women gave men books.

23 April is the day – and it is (possibly) also Shakespeare’s birthday. In 1995 UNESCO proclaimed it is the World Book and Copyright Day.

(Actually, we’ve always thought the idea of what is exchanged is rather silly. As women, we would much rather be given a a book than a withering cut flower. On the other hand though, a rose is a safe bet….)

Last year, the Finnish booksellers decided to celebrate the occasion by publishing a new novel which was given for free to all customers who made a purchase worth €10. This was the only way to get hold of a copy; the print run was 3,000 copies. The author was Tuomas Kyrö, the novel, Miniä (‘Daughter-in-law’).

This year the print run is more than tenfold, and the author is Jari Tervo. His novel  Jarrusukka (‘Slipper sock’) tells the story of a teacher, working in an immigrant neighbourhood, who finds out it’s not possible to lease a baby in a short term.