Author: Tiina Kaila

The train

Issue 1/1995 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Extracts from the novel Koe (‘The experiment’; WSOY, 1994). Interview by Tuva Korrström

In the morning a wild rose tapped beseechingly at the window, the wind sighed in the shaft of the chimney, the entire house creaked, pregnant with so great a longing that they had to awaken.

And as soon as they began to speak to each other, the house settled.

‘I should like to see the train,’ Sari said.


‘Because that is the reason why I am here.’

‘I didn’t plan it like that,’ Kari said. More…

Renaissance man

Issue 3/1990 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

An extract from the novel Bruno (WSOY, 1990)

Since her first collection of poems, which appeared in 1975, Tiina Kaila (born 1951 [from 2004, Tiina Krohn]) has published four children’s books and three volumes of poetry. Her novel Bruno is a fictive narrative about the Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake in 1600. It is the conflict inherent in her main character that interests Kaila: his philosophical and scientific thought is much closer to that of the present day than, for example, that of Copernicus, and it is this that led him to the stake; and yet he did never abandon his fascination for magic.

The novel follows Bruno on his journeys in Italy; France, Germany and England, where he is accompanied by the French ambassador, Michel de Castelnau. Bruno finds England a barbaric place: ‘…These people believe that it is enough that they know how to speak English, even though no one outside this little island understands a word. No civilised language is spoken here’

In the extract that follows, Bruno, approaching the chalk cliffs of Dover by sea, makes what he feels to be a great discovery: ‘Creation is as infinite as God. And life is the supremest, the vastest and the most inconceivable of all.’


I was leaning on the foredeck handrail, peering into a greenish mist. The bow was thrashing between great swells, blustering and hissing and shuddering like some huge wheezing animal: Augh – aagh – ho-haugh! Augh – aagh – ho-haugh!

Plenty of space had been reserved for our use on this new two-master cargo boat. Castelnau was transferring his whole family from France – his wife, his daughter, his servants, his library, his furniture, his past and me – to London, where, as you know, he had been appointed Ambassador of France. More…