Author: Silja Hiidenheimo

Making nothing happen

30 June 2000 | Authors, Reviews

Jouko Sirola.  Photo Sakari Majantie

Jouko Sirola. Photo Sakari Majantie

For a first book, Sisustus (‘Interior decoration’) is unusually self-willed. It is Jouko Sirola’s first book, although his short stories have been published in various literary magazines and anthologies. Sirola’s kindred spirits are not, after all, to be find in the art of the traditional, realist, Finnish short story; instead, for Sirola (born 1963), the surface of the story is like a calm face.

The most important thing is the story behind the uneventfulness. What is spoken by muteness? And what do we dream at the moment when we meet another person in the street, when we pick our keys up from the floor, when we open our mouths to eat? What do we get when we want to buy back the days of the life we have lived? More…

New worlds

30 September 1998 | Authors, Interviews

Monika Fagerhom

Photo: Ulla Montan

The heroine of Monika Fagerholm’s novel Diva is a teenage girl. But this is a Lolita with a difference; for this is an intelligent Lolita, with a voice of her own. Silja Hiidenheimo interviews her creator

In Monika Fagerholm’s best-selling book Underbara kvinnor vid vatten (1994, English translation:Wonderful Women by the Water), the sun shines and the women really are wonderful. If there is a certain melancholy about the story, it is born more of longing and the unrealised dream of freedom. And although all those of us who were born in the 1960s thought Monika had stolen precisely our childhood memories of summer, that she had leafed through our photograph albums, the work is, in the melancholy lightness of its narrative, an exception in Finnish realism. While the book forces its readers to empathise so completely that one cannot imagine Monika has invented anything in the whole story, but merely, like a camera, has registered everything just as it happened, an ironic laugh is heard in the book: realism is just as banal as life itself. If one were to summarise the plot of either, one would not be able to repeat it without blushing. More…