It doesn’t matter where the war happened, who the opposing forces were, or what justifications were given. After the dust settles, after the dead are removed, the work of survival continues for the living. The world seeks justice, but at the cost of retraumatizing the innocent.
Tiina Pihlajamäki’s You Can’t Tell About It explores the aftermath of a fictional eastern European conflict reminiscent of the Bosnian War in the mind of a young girl, Mirjana, who remained relatively unscathed by the atrocities experienced by so many others. Or did she? How can even the victim know when memories are the new enemy and what you can remember you can’t recount.
Although fictional, You Can’t Tell About It tackles the difficult and generally overlooked subject of the effects of conflict on children in the same spirit as The Diary of Anne Frank and Zlata’s Diary.
“You Can’t Tell About It isn’t light reading, but in its weightiness it offers a lot to think about. It speaks to and touches the reader. After reading it, your own small, every-day problems take on a new scale.”
What happens to you in hell if your last name really is Bastard? Can’t a fox girl living in the human world catch a break? Do you really have to slow down in your eighties? These and many more important, hilarious, and twisted life questions we’ve all been wondering about are tackled by the comic artists of Turku, Finland.
Mika Lietzén: Yesterday, Tomorrow (Eilen, huomenna), a graphic novel
Ave Koskela: Mr. Bastard’s Flower Book (Armaksen kukkakirja), a comic strip album
Anni Nykänen: Granny (Mummo), a comic strip
Tuuli Hypén: Nelly (Nanna), a comic strip
Jupu: Barbutterfly (Baarien nainen), a comic strip
Joonas Lehtimäki: Anonymous Animals (Anonyymit eläimet)
In 1994, Pekka Piri and Matti Pulli set out from Helsinki as skipper and navigator (respectively) of the FinnFaster, an open-top motor boat, on a daring attempt to reach Iceland. The Call of the Sagas chronicles not only their voyage across the cold northern seas, but also through the shoals and rocks of life. Their skills are tested. Their equipment is punished. Their endurance is pushed to the limit. In the end they do reach Iceland, but more importantly, they arrive as new men.
The year is 1940. Detective Sergeant Mujunen, familiar to readers of White Heat, is swept up in a new, more poignant chain of events. Mujunen, in mourning for the death of his wife, meets the Lithuanian dancer Ilse Anders at the cemetery, and his heart skips a beat. But his troubles are far from over.
A Finnish commuter plane vanishes after taking off from Tallinn, a bank is robbed in Kerava, and riots flare in Helsinki, the protesters demanding peace and brotherhood between Finland and the Soviet Union. Also involved is a big time gangster, Finnish-American Bill Kovanen, arrived too late to take part in the Winter War. Crime journalist Ossi Koho and photographer Sanna Rytkönen suspect a conspiracy: what if everything is connected with the accident where actress Sirkka Sari fell into the chimney of the Aulanko Hotel? The last act is played out on the windy shore of the Ice Sea, where Mujunen’s faith in mankind is put to the test.
My own thoughts: My favorite part is the milieu, the feel of 1940’s Finland. There are strong shades of our own US noir gumshoes, with just a hint of levity mixed into the narrative to avoid being overly earnest. The pace of the action is blistering. This is a book any mystery reader would love.