Author: Jari Tervo

Decent people

30 December 1998 | Fiction, Prose

The former newspaper reporter Jari Tervo (born 1959), now a successful novelist and quiz-show celebrity, writes about the seamier side of life. His subjects are mostly petty criminals and losers, but his crisp language is always a winner. And he can find a story even in a pork chop…. A short story from Taksirengin rakkaus (‘The love of the taxi-driver’, WSOY, 1998). Introduction by Suvi Ahola

The shopkeeper ran after the thief and caught him. The people in the parking lot of the S-Market made a fuss. The thief took fright when he found himself grasped by the scruff of the neck by a man the size of a baseball player. The shopkeeper removed the thief’s stomach. It turned out to be a packet of pork chops. They were not on special offer.

The thief stammered. The shopkeeper just had time to think that was the worst thing after snivelling when the thief started to snivel. The shopkeeper began to feel infuriatingly sorry for the thief’s arm, which was in a sling. Even his clothes were ugly. He let the thief go with a kick. I’m too good to be a shopkeeper, the shopkeeper thought delightedly, thanked the onlookers for their applause and put the packet of chops back on the shelf, where it was bought by a housewife. More…

Life is elsewhere, but you can get there by taxi

Issue 2/1996 | 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…

The way to heaven

Issue 2/1996 | 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…