Author: Juha Seppälä

Money makes the world go round

31 August 2012 | Fiction, Prose

Extracts from the novel Mr. Smith (WSOY, 2012). Introduction by Tuomas Juntunen

I have a confession to make.

I couldn’t have lived on my salary. Most people would solve this by taking out a loan, living on credit. I’ve never lived in debt. Instead I’ve had to make my modest capital grow by investing it – through the company, of course, because irrespective of their colour governments generally understand companies better than small investors. You have to make money somewhere other than the Social Security Office.

Work doesn’t make money; money makes money.

You have to let money do the work.

This is nothing short of a profound human tragedy: most people are forced to waste the majority of their lives, to use it in the service of complete strangers, for unknown purposes, doing something for money that they would never do if they didn’t have to. The most shocking thing is that people actively seek out this state of affairs, strive towards it; it is a goal towards which society lends us its full support, no less.

Such wage slavery is called ‘work’. More…

The honey of the bee

Issue 2/2005 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

 A short story from the collection Mitä sähkö on (‘What electricity is’ WSOY, 2004). Introduction by Jarmo Papinniemi

Five days before I was born my grandfather reached sixty-six. He’d always been old. The first image I have of him gleams like a knife on sunny spring-time snow: he was pulling me on my sledge over hard frost under a bright glaring-blue sky. In the Winter War a squadron of bombers had flown through the same blue sky on their way to Vaasa; the boys leapt into the ditches for cover, as if the enemy planes could be bothered to waste their bombs on a couple of kids. Be bothered? Wrong: kids were always the most important targets.

Now it’s summer, August, and I’m sitting on the grassy, mossy face of the earth, which is slowly warming in a sun that’s accumulated a leaden shadiness. I’m sitting on my grandfather’s land. It’s the time when the drying machines buzz. Even with eyes shut, you can sense the corn dust glittering in the sun. Even with eyes shut, you can take in the smell of the barn’s old wood, the sticky fragrance of the blackcurrants barrelled on its floor, the tins of coffee and the china dishes on the shelves, and the empty grain bins; there’s the cupboard Kalle made, with its board sides and veneered door, and the dust-covered trunk that was going to accompany my grandfather to another continent. The ticket was already hooked, but Grandfather’s world remained here for good. When Easter comes we’ll gather the useless junk out into the yard and burn it; Grandfather’s travel chest will rise skywards. Grandfather stands in the barn entrance, leaning on the doorpost. He’s dead. Over all lies a heavy overbearing sun. Beyond the field the river’s flowing silently in its deep channel. At night time its dark and warm. More…

The tower

Issue 4/1987 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short story from the collection Torni (‘The tower’, 1987). Introduction by Erkka Lehtola

The dog came through the door first, a big, long-haired brute. He hadn’t said anything about it on the phone, but from the look on his face you could tell it was his and that he meant to take it with him into the forest.

He shuffled across the yard with his rubber boots on and a rucksack on his back. In one hand he held a camera tripod.

I rolled down the window.

‘Wait a minute,’ he said.

He walked behind the cars standing in the parking lot, over to his own car and opened the trunk. The dog twisted around his legs whining softly. He took something out and slammed the trunk shut. More…