Author: Pia Ingström

Outside the goldfish bowl

Issue 4/2003 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

Agneta von Koskull was born in 1947 into an aristocratic family in Helsinki – which, in post-war Finland, did not involve any great economic luxury. Her father, Baron Erik von Koskull, worked at the Hufvudstadsbladet newspaper as a correspondent in the advertising department, while her mother Elsa, née Behm, ‘minded the till’ at a shipping company. Agneta and her two older sisters were looked after first by their beloved nanny, Dodo, and later by a series of more or less unsuitable home helps and an eccentric uncle. More…

Desire and revulsion

Issue 2/1997 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

Perhaps there is an economics of comprehensibility that runs directly counter to the thesis that a new form makes possible a new content.  Olli Jalonen’s novel Kenen kuvasta kerrot (‘Whose picture are you talking about’, Otava, 1996) is an entirely conventional story about women, men and marriage. The manner in which he tells it is, however, unconventional.

The result is an involved but never off-puttingly difficult novel that keeps its promises of a psychological suspense and complexity, even partly using them to motivate its form. More…

Between cultures

Issue 4/1991 | Archives online, Authors

The task of a story is to find words to express that which is too extraordinary to be told. ‘Stones should interpret silence and make it understandable.’

Colorado Avenue, Lars Sund’s third novel, is undoubtedly his most spectacular and dramatic so far. A substantial and weighty epic (a rare genre in Finland-Swedish literature), the book is at the same time formally inventive and playful. A particularly dramatic, action-packed episode may be written in the form of a script for a silent film, while a broader portrait of the times is sketched in a chapter which invites the reader to examine a set of old glass negatives, found among the effects of a parish primary schoolteacher, which an enthusiastic indoor gardener has later incorporated into a greenhouse to protect his tomato seedlings. More…