Author: Matti Yrjänä Joensuu

Notes from underground

30 September 2003 | Fiction, Prose

Extracts from the crime novel Harjunpää ja pahan pappi (‘Harjunpää and the priest of evil’, Otava, 2003)

Killing a person wasn’t difficult. No more of a problem than killing a pigeon. It only needed a slight push – at the right time, of course, and in the right place. He if anyone had the ability to scent out the time and place, or rather perhaps they were revealed to him in a certain way; and, hey presto, the flesh did come off the bones and the veins burst open on the macadam, and vertebrae and joints rolled about like beans, and the life departed from all that filth that had turned a person into a devil of greed. Of course he knew that. He’d seen it and smelt with his own nostrils the stench of raw human flesh that gave you that sweet shudder. More…

Emotional transgressions

Issue 4/1985 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Three extracts from the novel Harjunpää ja rakkauden lait (‘Harjunpaa and the laws of love’). Introduction by Risto Hannula

It was a few minutes to two, and Harjunpää was still awake, lying so close to Elisa that he could feel her warmth. He kept his eyes open, staring into the night through the crack between curtains. Once again the boiler of the central heating plant started up, and the smoke began to rise like a stiff column in the cold. Another fifteen minutes had passed, and morning was a quarter of an hour closer. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to concentrate on Elisa’s breathing and the sleepy snuffling of the girls, but his thoughts still wouldn’t leave him in peace. Inexplicably, he felt there was something wrong, that the darkness exuded some kind of threat, that he’d left something undone or had made some kind of mistake.

He swung his feet onto the floor and got up as quietly as he could. But all his care was wasted, he should have known that.

‘What’s the matter?’ Elisa asked sleepily.

‘I just can’t get to sleep.’

‘Again … ‘

‘I can’t help it. I wonder if there’s a bottle of brew left.’

‘Sure. But listen …’

Pipsa turned over in her crib, rattling the sides, groped around a bit and began to suck her pacifier so you could hear the quiet sucking noises.


‘Maybe you could see a doctor. You could ask for some mild … ‘ More…