938 entries in Mag: Articles

An Introduction to Finnish Literature

Finland is an enlightened modern Nordic welfare state, wired, highly literate and technologically advanced. Finland is also the most sparsely inhabited country in the European Union, mostly covered in…...

Letter to Lethe

Just so you know, my beloved daughter, they tell me I was a charming man, the kind of witty rascal whose arms women had the bad habit of throwing themselves into. “You would have liked yourself,”…...

The Message Bearer

In the entrance hall of the library the children’s coats let off the damp smell of an autumn day. The patter of feet, the giggling of girls, the scrapping of boys: the sounds filled the quiet space…...

The Weight of Words

The finger of fate pushed Miss Götha Traub into Belgian Wallonia at the end of the 1930s, leaving her stranded there when, with lightning speed, the Wehrmacht occupied the country. She had come to…...

Final Appearance

That winter afternoon, just before the flyover and exit for the city of S—, E. suddenly saw a broad, dark shadow cross the beam of his headlights. The back-end of a truck! Such was his perception.…...

The White Room

Daylight and color are to be avoided, says Padima. No troubling pictures and patterns, no colorful details that your gaze gravitates toward. The room is to be clear and peaceful, and as bare as possible.…...

Easy as Flushing

Perttu needed to poop. That’s how it had been, the situation, all weekend. But nothing would come out. He stared out the train window, vaguely expressing his discomfort. The crushingly somber pinewood…...

from “When the Doves Disappeared”

1941 Tallinn The grain warehouses were burning, the sky grew columns of smoke. Buses, trucks and cars filled the roads, their worn tires screaming like the people were, screaming to get away. And then…...

from “Finnhits”

Are you completely sure I feel like listening? Have you thought it through carefully and concluded that on Friday at 4:54 PM I'm going to feel like taking in one more life story that starts deep in…...

Panda

“Oh well,” I said, “Then it’s probably gonna be a panda.” “We can’t really settle on ‘probably,’” said the guy. “We need a firm commitment.”…...

The Rat

1 This is impossible, Tamara Pavlivna convinces herself, it’s impossible. I live on the seventh floor of a brick building, and the seventh floor—it’s gotta be too high for him. He couldn’t…...

April 2045: The Hole

Bazyl the gravedigger sat on a pile of earth that he himself had created and, as usual, smoked his cheap cigarettes. His short-cropped hair was completely gray. His arms, bony and covered in thick veins,…...

One of Those Difficult Feelings We Have

I couldn’t sleep. I went outside and sat in a garden chair. It was September, a mild night with no wind. A few minutes passed and I began to wonder how I must look sitting there at 12:30 at night.…...

from “The Eternal Road”

Abducted from his home in Finland in 1930 by the radical Finnish right-wing Lapua Movement, the narrator escapes his captors and finds himself alone on the Russian side of the border. Russians discover…...

The Right Place

They had the Kaukokiito stage up in the marketplace and some of the market crowd stood over by it looking in. Karhu and Ella circled around in front of it and saw potters sitting around wheels. Some were…...

Daughters!

"Daddy,” comes a yell from the bathroom. “There’s a bug in my bathrobe sleeve.” I leave the sandwiches half done and go to check. A daddy long-legs, or a moth? Can’t…...

Son

My father usually slept in the greenhouse, in the storage room where the season’s fruit was stored. He had a bunk in there and a light on the wall. I think it was his protective shelter—he…...

Piece by Piece They’re Taking My World Away

The waves fell on the shore like shipwrecked men, broken-spirited, disheartened and weak, one after the next, with clipped moans, small sighs, one after the next. The squall had begun to die down in mid-afternoon…...

Me and Mycobacterium tuberculosis

When I was given the news, I was quite overcome. I was told I was going to England. I was supposed to work with a company in London for a couple of years as part of my job. I was instructed to apply for…...

The Bamboo Stalk

One evening I called a taxi to go to the gas depot near the central market to change an empty cylinder. One of the streets in Jabriya was severely congested. Jabriya is always crowded, but congestion like…...

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