You can read some of Books from Finland here: click the links.
A hedgehog becomes a bestseller, or, what Finland reads
An extract from the novel Toiset kengät (‘The other shoes’, Otava, 2007), translated by Hildi Hawkins Antero (the author’s alter ego), a teenager and a wannabe artist, can easily describe to his psychology teacher, Sanni Karjanen, what’s inside Little Red Riding Hood’s basket. She says he’s an eideticist – but is that a good thing?
Fact is a feminist issue
Women writers of historical fiction have always been divided into two categories, ‘popular’ and ‘serious’. But which is which, wonders Saara Kesävuori, a literary scholar and a fan of the genre herself.
Fools and devils
Witchcraft, theatre and education in 17th-century Finland are long-standing interests of the journalist and theatre critic Anneli Kanto (born 1950). She has now woven these themes into a historical first novel Piru, kreivi, noita ja näyttelijä (‘The devil, the count, the witch and the actor’). Interview by Anna-Leena Ekroos.
The show must go on
Extracts from the novel Piru, kreivi, noita ja näyttelijä (‘The devil, the count, the witch and the actor’, Gummerus, 2007), translated by Lola Rogers Life in a Finnish theatre troupe circa 1650 was not a bed of roses: a living had to be scraped together amid cold, hunger and a stingy audience. But brief moments of divine acting made it all worthwile — for the narrator Laurentius, a.k.a. Leonardo, at least.
The heart of reality
Rhyme and rhythm were essential to the poet Aaro Hellaakoski (1893–1952). A natural scientist by training, he sought inspiration in the freedom of the outdoor world for his lyrical ponderings of the relationship between humankind and the world.
An eye of the unseen
Poems, translated by Herbert Lomas The poet plays with the idea of being empty and free, and at one with everything. His lyrical paradoxes are found close at hand – in the wind, light, birds: ‘The utterly unsayable is ready for saying….’
Dissolved in moon
‘I am, or being is in me’, is how Aaro Hellaakoski characterised the experience of the poet in his aphorisms. He was not a practitioner of Zen philosophy – but, Tero Tähtinen argues, his poems can be read through it.
Public or private?
Blogs, those millions of online diaries, have blurred the borders of the term ‘mass media’. Who will blog, who will read blogs? We publish three views.
Per Olov Jansson
A life behind the camera
Photographs from Valolla piirtäjä. Teckna, men med ljus (‘Draw, but with light’, Musta Taide, 2006) Per Olov Jansson (born 1920) is the brother of Tove, the painter and creator of the Moomins (1914–2001) and of Lasse (1926–2000), a graphic artist and writer. In his photographic autobiography, Per Olov takes a look at his life as a ‘draughtsman of light’ and a member of the artistic Jansson family.
Arto Kivimäki, Stefan Moster, Anna Rotkirch, Tuomas Nevanlinna
In praise of folly
Why will no-one in Finland admit they’re an intellectual? What is civilisation? And who needs it, anyway? Four writers take a look at current Finnish cultural atmosphere from philosophical, political, personal or professional viewpoints.
Journey to the North, part II
Finns know little about Sámi literature. In this article, her second on the subject (see Books from Finland 1/2007), the literary scholar Janna Kantola set out to learn more.
Mind the gap!
You may be on the wrong side of the generation gap: check what the media says about rock, booze and rules.
Paasilinna, Arto: Kuusilaakson tarinoita [Tales from Kuusilaakso]
The inferno examined
Kuula, Kari: Helvetin historia. Pohjalta pohjalle Homeroksesta Manaajaan [The history of hell. From bottom to bottom, from Homer to The Exorcist]
On writing and not writing
In this series guest writers ponder the diffi- culties of writing. Kaari Utrio, a historian and a novelist, takes a look at the problems of turning history into fiction.