To the Finland Station

From LA Weekly, 16 March 2001

Richard Rayner on his new novel, The Cloud Sketcher

By Brendan Bernhard

“I asked my father-in-law what he could tell me about the Finnish Civil War. And he said, ‘There was no civil war in Finland.’ I said, ‘Well, what do you mean?’ He said, ‘There was no civil war in Finland.’ And I said, ‘Well, forgive me, but I understood that in 1918, after the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, the Reds seized power in Finland and there was a war and Finns were killing Finns.’ And he said, ‘Ah! That was the War of Independence.’

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The Cloud Sketcher

By Richard Rayner. 435 pages. $25. HarperCollins.

From International Herald Tribune, 16 March 2001

Reviewed by Jabari Asim

Born in Finland in 1890, Esko Vaananen grows up in the tiny village of Pyhajarvi, where there is no railroad, one telephone and only one building with electricity. The son of an unstable, abusive Marxist, Esko is a lonely, motherless child. After losing an eye and acquiring extensive scars from a fire, he becomes a bookish, solitary figure accustomed to a life of rude stares and cruel insults. He seems doomed to a confined, loveless existence until two fateful encounters...

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See also:

Joan Tate: Interpreter of Nordic cultures

15 June 2000

Responses to Liksom in different cultures

9 June 2000

Linna trilogy to appear in English

9 June 2000

Paasilinna's novel gains popularity among British readers

5 June 2000

The 'disciplinisation' of Finnish historiography

October 1997

The taboo of decadence in Finnish literature

October 1997

How one novel resolved a national trauma

October 1997

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