Author: Hannu Raittila

Marginal notes

4 June 2009 | Essays, Non-fiction

Fast food for thought? Culture meets business.

Fast food for thought? Culture meets business. – Illustration: Joonas Väänänen

Extracts from a collection of writings, Ulkona (‘Outside’, Siltala, 2008)

Literature – and ‘serious’ writing in particular, the kinds of texts we publish in Books from Finland – is often seen as lost, irrelevant, pushed out to the edge of mainstream popular culture. But, argues Hannu Raittila, the margin is actually the area of greatest freedom. Everything worthwhile happens there – and business would do well to imitate art, rather than the other way round

It is easy to see culture as a marginal part of society, if viewed from an economic perspective. It is easy to see literature, for its part, as a marginal phenomenon even when compared with other areas of culture – pop music, for example. More…

The situation in Narva

Issue 4/1993 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short story from Pakosarja (‘Exhaust manifold’, WSOY, 1993)

We went into the building where Voroshilov said the waitress had disappeared. Inside was a big room lined with wooden benches. A tin-clad stove radiated heat. Someone had shut the dampers too early, probably out of meanness; it had that kind of smoky smell.

A corridor led from the room, with a few doors off it. We peered inside, but there was no one to be seen. There was nobody in the entire building. We left.

We walked across the railway yard in what I thought was the direction of the train. We heard the sound of the engine long before we could see anything through the snowstorm. At regular intervals the engine’s pressure valve let off steam. Voroshilov went for a leak. He leaned against the engine’s big back wheel and watered the lever, which had been left in the down position. The liquid ran down the engine’s rounded flank. The snowflakes melted as they fell on to the black casing of the water-tank. More…