This month we present writing from Finland. Due to historic and linguistic circumstances, Finnish literature has received less attention in the English-speaking world than it merits. Our guest editor, the prominent Finnish translator Lola Rogers, has selected an exciting group of contemporary writers, many of whom appear in English for the first time. Leena Krohn's depressed writer presents the reading from hell. In stories of parents and children, Mikko Rimminen finds unexpected obstacles on a train, and Shimo Suntila looks in on a single parent wrangling two rambunctious girls. Two pieces here bring history to life, as Sofi Oksanen pens a vivid recreation of the bombing of Talinn in 1940 and Antti Tuuri observes an expat Finnish construction crew working in Russia under the local Communist Party in 1930. Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen's dementia patient loses his memory but develops second sight. Daniel Katz calculates the literal weight of words, while Maritta Lintunen's librarian receives a package from the past. Tiina Laitila Kälvemark's fragile woman struggles to recover her sanity. Kari Hotakainen's multiple narrators struggle with anger and ennui. Joonas Konstig's fretful young man seeks an appropriate setting for an important question. And Petri Tamminen acknowledges a lifelong trait. We thank the Finnish Literature Exchange for their generous support of this issue. Elsewhere, in three pieces from Ukraine selected by Oleksandr Mykhed, Sashko Ushkalov finds a job applicant with unusual experience, Taras Antypovych's gravediggers confront the end of their profession, and Tanya Malyarchuk shares secrets of pest control.




Metamorphoses of Reality: New Writing from Ukraine


Panda

“Looks like you’re a liar. Is that correct?”


April 2045: The Hole

“And while we’ve been busy digging graves we’ve missed it all.”


The Rat

“I poisoned you, my love,” Alevtyna purrs.



Book Reviews

Antonio Ungar’s “The Ears of the Wolf”

It is this instability, this dance between beauty and horror, fear and elation, and this delicate navigation of power, which can turn one into the other, that animates Antonio Ungar’s singular, captivating novel.


Gonçalo M. Tavares’s “A Man: Klaus Klump”

Gonçalo M. Tavares (Does the M stand for Man? Maniac? Master? Certainly not anything as common as Manuel . . .) is a writer that trades in oppositions. And business is good.


Alessandro Baricco’s “Mr. Gwyn

In an attempt to combat an approaching aimlessness after his sudden retirement, Gwyn chooses the new vocation of a copyist.


The White Room

I have been in the white room for five months and twenty days now.

Son

Had he used a bayonet, or a knife? Had he felt hatred? Pleasure?

Daughters!

“We needed some liquid gold,” Milla says very seriously.

The Right Place

Was everything perfect enough?

One of Those Difficult Feelings We Have

I was born to be afraid.