Author: Hannu Aho

A perfectly ordinary day

Issue 3/1997 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Extract from the novel Kello 4.17 (‘The time was 4.17’, WSOY, 1996). When time loses its meaning, real fear strikes like an iron glove. Aho writes about a man who is different but no outcast

I was lost to myself, if it is possible to be lost if you haven’t gone anywhere. Black birds curved through my mind and it felt as if no one needed me, no one or nothing: my mother bought clothes and make-up and did not seem to care; Uncle Lasse looked after the family business, steam coming out of his head, and kept shopkeepers and shopaholic customers happy; smiling bank managers slapped shy loan applicants encouragingly on the back, the gross national product grew without me having anything to do with it, or because I didn’t; and politics plodded onward as the mud squelched comfortingly. The machine of society hummed and ticked and Finland was as round and fat as a bomb. I looked at it and nothing changed, and on Sundays it was so quiet that you could look out of the window and see the Sahara.