Author: Raija Siekkinen

Time difference

30 December 2003 | Fiction, Prose

A short story from Kalliisti ostetut päivät (Dearly bought days, Otava, 2003)

She arrived at the airport too early, as always. The reason was not that connections from the small town in which she lived were slow and difficult, or even that she liked the airport’s atmosphere of swift departures and long waits. No; she wanted to spend time at the airport to see that the planes took off and landed without anything awful happening. She wanted to see that a departing plane’s acceleration was rapid, that the plane left the asphalt of the runway elegantly, that its tail did not hit the ground as it rose, break, the plane explode, catch fire, but that, like an arrow fired into the air, following its flight path, it curved upward and, sunlight glancing off the metal of the body, disappeared from view. She wanted to see that the landing gear of a descending plane was out, as it should be, that a tyre did not burst as it hit the ground, at that there was no ice or oil on the runway; that the brakes worked, and that the fire engines at the edge of the airfield stayed in place as a sign that all was well. More…

Between two loves

Issue 4/1999 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

From Se tapahtui täällä (’It happened here’, Otava, 1999). Introduction and interview by Nina Paavolainen

She thought of the period between two loves as a spacious room, full of light, outside whose windows the seasons change unhurriedly. On the walls are reflections of the morning light. There is the sound of piano music; and the number of rooms grows. Somewhere, far away, a young girl, dressed in white, is at the piano; the wind fans the curtains. Slow awakening, the soft rocking of time, the sound of bare feet on a wooden floor. In the air there is the scent of flowers, apples, and the gentle morning breeze, and perfume, and the scent of clean, ironed clothes and furniture wax. The afternoon shadows are long and cool; the pages of a book rustle slowly. Now the music pauses.



Issue 1/1997 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short sory from Kaunis nimi (‘A lovely name’, Otava, 1996). Raija Siekkinen’s limpid prose is at its best when she explores the complex feelings that lie behind the events of everyday life. Here objects are indicators of emotions, memory and loss, and what is most important is left unsaid

And where was the pen, the fountain pen, black, chubby; the one which pumped the ink straight up from the bottle?

There were three gold-coloured bands on the cap of the pen, and its nib, too, was golden, It had been given to her in a case lined with black velvet, and there was a groove for the pen, and a depression for the ink-bottle; and the bottle was narrow -necked, with curving sides, and the ink in it was not bright blue, but dark, so that words written in it looked old, written a long time ago; one forgot that one had written them oneself, one read them like the words of a stranger.

She remembered the pen, and began slowly to wake up. More…

Solitude growing

Issue 2/1995 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Extract from Häiriö maisemassa (‘A disturbance in the landscape’, Otava, 1994). In this, her first novel, Raija Siekkinen – well-known for the fragile prose fof her short stories – continues her dissection of the soul with an account of the experience of a womanwho finds that many lives are being lived through her own

She was pregnant. After all these years, the woman finally found she was pregnant: it was as if the man had made a last attack to retain his hold on a country he had once conquered.

She let the days go by, the days of autumn, which night by night edged more shadow across the damp lawn. She looked at the man from a distance, not seeing him; her mind rehearsed what she knew about him. The man had two children from a previous marriage. The woman had not wanted the children to come here, and neither did their mother; that was, indeed, the only subject on which they agreed. The man went to visit his children; they never spoke about what happened on those occasions. More…

How love begins

Issue 1/1992 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short story from Kuinka rakkaus syntyy (‘How love is born’; Otava, 1991)

All that day the words of the song ran through Annika’s mind.

‘How love begins, nobody knows’: those were the words with which the clock radio had woken her this morning.

They had bought a clock radio so as not to have to listen to the ticking of a clock in the dark, echoing room, or its ear-splitting alarm, like the screaming of a small wounded animal.

They had bought other things, too, to make their lives easier: a dish-washer, and a washing machine that also dried the clothes, and a microwave oven, and a second telephone, because the flat was a big one. Life went on; there was plenty of time to be, and to think about what had been, and what could have been, and what would come to be. More…

A small lie

Issue 2/1987 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short story from Pieni valhe (‘A small lie’). Introduction by Marianne Bargum

The white cat had started to hate her.

Only half a year ago, Marja remembered, it had been playing with the hems of her robe, while she had passed the morning reading and drinking coffee. Right now it was staring relentlessly at her from the bookcase where it was ensconced: out of reach, she thought. Its stare was green and mean. At night it attacked her ankles; it lurked in the crevices of the apartment and when it heard her approaching steps it leapt past her, screaming, and crossed the room to the curtains or the table. The curtains fell, books crashed to the floor, the cat stared with its eyes opened wide, the pupils like narrow slits. She would lock the cat into the other room for the night, hear it mew and feel the door with its paws; she fell asleep only after the cat had calmed down. When she approached it during the day, stroked it and called its name, it looked at her, motionless, as if it had seen and known everything, and then she withdrew her hand, backed off, started behaving as if there wasn’t even a cat in the apartment. More…