Author: Zinaida Lindén


30 August 2013 | Fiction, Prose

An extract from the novel För många länder sedan (‘Many lands ago’ Schildts & Söderströms, 2013; Finnish edition: Monta maata sitten; Otava, 2013). Introduction by Pia Ingström

‘I assume your father wanted you to become a doctor?’ asked Igor at the beginning of our life together. My parents did indeed want me to become a doctor. Not a pathologist, but a general practitioner. I became an art historian instead. There was a time when my area of research aroused curiosity in Igor.

‘Why Piranesi?’ he wondered.

‘As a child I devoured classic novels about pale, emaciated families living in a cellar,’ I explained jokingly. ‘I became interested in catacombs and vaults. That’s why I wanted to study the history of drawing.’

I’ve always had a fascination for underground spaces. I’m drawn to them like a homing missile. This interest of mine must have genetic roots. My mother was born in a bomb shelter during the first German air raid over Leningrad. More…

Shards from the empire

5 February 2010 | Fiction, Prose

‘Imperiets skärvor’, ‘Shards from the empire’, is from the collection of short stories, Lindanserskan (‘The tightrope-walker’, Söderströms, 2009; Finnish translation Nuorallatanssija, Gummerus, 2009)

Gustav’s greatest passion is for genealogy. He dedicates his free time to sketching coats of arms; masses of colourful, noble crests.

Gustav asked me to do a translation. I sat for ten days trying to decipher a couple of pages from a Russian archive dating from the 1830s. Sentences like, With this letter, we hereby give notice of our gracious decision.‘

The intricate handwriting belonged to some collegiate registrar or other. Perhaps Gogol’s Khlestakov. More…

For the love of a city

Issue 4/2004 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Extracts from the novel I väntan på en jordbävning (‘Waiting for an earthquake’, Söderströms, 2004). Introduction by Petter Lindberg

Nonna Rozenberg lived quite near the special school where I was a boarder, in a block nine stories high with a bas-relief to the right of the door. This bas-relief featured a fairy-tale figure – the Firebird or the Bird Sirin.

I often saw Nonna stepping out of a tram carrying a large brown case. She moved carefully, as if afraid of falling.

She played the cello, and resembled that bulky, melodious instrument herself. Women’s figures are often compared to guitars. But Nonna’s appearance never hinted at parties at home with parents away or singsongs around the camp-fire.

She was no beauty. Her slow, precociously mature body was neither graceful nor girlishly delicate. If I’d met her later, when I was working at a gym, I’d have said she was overweight and lacking in self-discipline. More…