Author: Maria Säntti

Alone together

Issue 2/2003 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

The novel Näiden seinien sisällä me emme näy (‘Within these walls we are invisible’, Tammi, 2002) depicts the experience of motherhood. When a child is born, the balance of power in Ellen and Tapani’s home, in which they have been alone together for ten years, shifts. Ellen’s relationship with her baby is so all-embracing that her husband inevitably becomes an interloper; Tapani continually leaves his teacup on the bookshelf and shatters the secret order Ellen has created. Washing-up, gumboots, dirty shirts shackle her thoughts to the material, which humiliates her.

Katri Tapola (born 1961) has, in earlier prose-works, cast light on women’s interior landscapes; Kalpeat tytöt (‘Pale girls’, Tammi, 1998), which followed a woman’s growth, received the Helsingin Sanomat prize for a first novel. Even then, the narrative ran much deeper than the psychological level, to the time before the developed self. Tapola’s children’s book, Kivikauppaa ja ketunleipää (‘Stone trade and wood sorrel’) received the Arvid Lydecken Prize for children’s literature in 2002. More…

Endurance tests

Issue 3/2002 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

Jari Järvelä (born 1966) puts his characters in extreme situations, making them victims of crime, wanderers in the desert, victims of car crashes as in the novel 66 luuta (‘66 bones’, 1998), or of torture and extortion as in the novel Lentäjän poika (‘The pilot’s son’, short-listed for the Finlandia Prize in 1999) and of war in the novel Veden paino (‘The weight of water’, 2001).

There are also plenty of problems to be found in difficult relations between men and women or at work. Järvelä’s themes also include power games originating in expert power and the shame that follows humiliation. These are also linked with a criticism of the Finnish culture of silence. This stops people not only from speaking, but also from analysing their traumatic experiences. More…


30 September 1999 | Authors, Interviews

Leena Krohn

Photo: Liisa Takala

In Leena Krohn’s novel, Pereat mundus (1998) the central role is played by a number of characters called Håkan. All of them are different, living in different times and different places, but they are still Everymans: you and me. In the following e-mail interview, Maria Säntti asks Krohn about her relationship with language, imagination, the world – and virtual reality

Date: Fri Jul 23 18:04:24 1999 To: Leena Krohn <> From: Maria Santti <> Subject: Let the interview begin!

Dear Leena,
I have just read Pereat mundus, which I like very much. I have many questions to ask you about it; I shall try to gather my thoughts, but I think I am troubled by the problem of the first sentence. I am alarmed even to contemplate the maze of questions and answers the first question will lead us to.

Over the past thirty years you have published a couple of dozen collections of poetry, short stories and essays, and, since Tainaron (1985), ‘novels, sort of’. This is how  Pereat mundus defines its own genre on its title page. Sometimes your works incline toward novels, as in Umbra, 1990, sometimes toward collections of short stories – Matemaattisia olioita ja jaettuja unia (‘Mathematical creatures and shared dreams’, 1992) and sometimes collections of essays – Rapina ja muita papereita (‘Rustle and other papers’, 1989). How did you find this open ‘epistolary novel’ form for your work? More…