Author: Annika Idström

The ladies’ dining club

Issue 3/1994 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

From the novel Luonnollinen ravinto (‘A natural diet’, WSOY, 1994). Interview by Tuva Korsström

My dear, wise and ever-faithful secretary, colleague, friend and right hand, you who, without counting the hours, have been my helpmeet in many awkward situations, and not only in work matters but in others, all sorts of matters that belong to my private life and particularly those, you have remembered things that I have found hard to remember, like the birthday of my wife or some important colleague, and at Christmas you have always remembered me with some small gift, always different and always carefully chosen, of which I hardly need say how much it has warmed my heart, when I haven’t been able to do better than a single miserable hyacinth. And you have always reminded me of engagements I haven’t been able to keep track of: dentists, barbers, garages, less important and more important receptions, lunches and dinners, but what is most important, and why l am most grateful to you, is that in your generosity and open-mindedness – your eternal femininity – you have understood that a person in my position may sometimes find himself in situations whose consequences he cannot always control, and that he begins to be bothered by all sorts of people, although they should understand from the smallest hint that their company is not required, and you have sensitively but firmly turned them away, sometimes telling a little lie, and you have never, ever taken a moral stand or judged my actions, but have averted your eyes, having made the decision to accept that your boss is anything but perfect. For that reason I wish to express my gratitude to you; but not, however, unreservedly. Our seamless collaboration, my ever-lovable secretary, has meant that something belonging to me has begun to belong to you, that you have become part of me just as I have become part of my wife, even before she touches me with her fork. So I have no doubt that you, too, could appear at the dinner that is soon to be arranged. Bon appetit! More…

Letters to Trinidad

Issue 1/1990 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Extracts from the novel Kirjeitä Trinidadiin (‘Letters to Trinidad’, 1989). Introduction by Suvi Ahola

Elisabet suggested that they should go to the beach. Seppo would have liked to show her the coral, but his wife thought it was too far, and so they decided to go to the beach nearest the hotel.

They hired mattresses and a sun umbrella and found places in the first row, close to the water. The sea glittered, and long, shallow waves rolled towards the sand, like long, even snores. Seppo dozed for a moment, then sat up and, taking his binoculars, focused out to sea. Two warships sailed eastwards through the glittering waves. Egypt, Jordan and the Arab countries all around, Iran and Iraq close by, Libya not far away – it was like lying on a keg of gunpowder!

Elisabet went swimming, and he followed. He carried his wife through the waves, played the life-saver and dragged Elisabet’s apparently lifeless body through the waves. They dived, and Elizabet complained that the salt stung her eyes. They lay on their mattresses and when Seppo glanced at her, he felt again the sharp stab of desire, and would have liked to make love, but had to content himself with caressing her thigh. When his desire became too great he covered himself with a rowel, and Elisabet laughed.

‘Again? You’re insatiable’, she said. More…