Sunday, February 10, 2013

Crème de la crème


Such straining and pasteurising is going on in the city that Arabs and other Muslims, the unemployed, drunkards, poor people and lunatics have been eliminated. By chance I became a cultural figure, and I was invited to a cultural evening whose invitation had been personally written by the Anarchist. At the restaurant table sat the Anarchist, the Psychoanalyst and the Psychologist’s boyfriend, 20 years younger, the Journalist, the Gift-Shop Owner, a Librarian and the Deputy Rector of a community college. Accompanying me to the restaurant, too, were the Wolf and the Deer, who hadn’t been invited. Sparse white fur grew on the Wolf’s narrow muzzle and there were teeth missing from his mouth. The Deer was beautiful, with huge eyes. And of course both of them were drunk. I asked them to come along because I believed that intellectuals are warm-hearted and open-minded. A really dumb idea. Bitter sangria was poured from a jug into thimble-sized glasses, and the group waited politely for its tapas. The Wolf raised his quivering snout. ‘What shall we talk about, mesdames, messieurs?’ 

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This story was first published in Finnish in the literary journal Parnasso (6–7/2012)


  • Kristina Carlson (born 1949) is a writer, poet and author of several books for young people. She was the Editor-in-Chief of Books from Finland between 2002 and 2005. Her novel Maan ääreen (‘To the end of the earth’, Otava, 1999) won the Finlandia Prize for Fiction. Her subsequent novels, Herra Darwinin puutarhuri (‘Mr Darwin’s gardener’, 2009) and William N. Päiväkirja (‘William N. Diary’, 2011) are set in 19th-century England and France, respectively. Carlson's works have been published in three languages. She lives in her native Helsinki.

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