Author: Jyrki Vainonen

A door to the other side

7 September 2012 | Extracts, Non-fiction

Building bird-houses is author Jyrki Vainonen’s hobby: he has crafted dozens of nesting boxes and hung them on trees for winged tenants. Roaming in the woods may be bring surprises, though: the bird-house man suddenly finds the world underfoot opening up or a moment… An extract from the collection of stories Linnunpöntön rakentaja (‘Builder of bird-houses’, Atena, 2012)

Birds coming up… Inside front cover of Linnunpöntön rakentaja by Elina Warsta/Solmu

The hinge was rusty, but after a cleaning and oiling it seemed to work, and didn’t even squeak. I had found it in a piece of board that was lying beside the road on the way to the dump. The board may have once served as part of a door frame.

The next day I rode my bike there again and unscrewed the hinge from the board, and now it looked quite handsome attached to the side wall of the birdhouse. I set the still floorless, roofless box upright and tried the door, opening the clasp and lifting the side wall on its hinges. It worked well, didn’t jam or make any sound. Next I attached the pieces of wood I’d already cut to form the roof and floor of the birdhouse. I inserted the floor and nailed through the three walls of the box – all except the wall that formed the door. Then I nailed the roof in place with several nails.

Now I had a box that would make it easy to watch the life inside. It would doubtless be wonderful to be able to see the nest from so close, and from the side rather than the top, as I usually had before. I could take photos, too. More…

The pearl

30 December 1999 | Fiction, Prose

A short story from Tutkimusmatkailija ja muita tarinoita (‘The explorer and other stories’, Loki-kirjat, 1999)

My name is Jan Stabulas. I am one of the quietest and inconspicuous workers in our department store, this giant ant-heap swarming with people. No one really pays any attention to me, although I am on show all the time. My job is quite simple: to stand in the menswear department, dressed in fashionable clothes. Now that doesn’t take much, I have heard it said. Well, try it yourself. Try standing for ten hours, without moving, in an awkward, even an unnatural, position, wishing that the air conditioning would work when it was hot, or that it would be switched off when you can feel the draught cutting you to the marrow. Think how the customers stare at you as they pass by, like an object which they cannot buy, and consider your words once more. More…