A bare-bones blend of madness, politics and guts.
Author: Harry Salmenniemi
Finnish original: Delfiinimeditaatio
Publisher: Siltala Publishing, 2019
Genre: literary fiction, short stories
Number of pages: 224 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample
With the new short story collection by Harri Salmenniemi, Dolphin Meditation, we come to understand a young woman’s life from the perspective of her upset stomach; how brushing your teeth can strip your life of all meaning; the political-erotic delusion of a woman lying in a hospital bed; and how thinking about dolphins calms the mind.
The insightful stories overlap with cultural criticism and cries of anguish. When hopelessness threatens, hysterical laughter saves the day. Behind it all hovers a psychiatrist who has lost his mind and helps his patients from his own perspective.
“Salmenniemi’s cristallized language is again stylized to matter-of-fact statements that get close to essayistic pondering. The functionality of the language honors the traditions of Finnish short story design and modernist prose, as did also Salmenniemi’s first collection The Uranium Lamp (2017).”
–Helsingin Sanomat newspaper
“Just like with Uranium Lamp, you’ll end up reading Dolphin Meditation over and over again, starting from different stories, each time getting equally excited about the sentences, thoughts and rhythm. Despite their dark topics, Salmenniemi’s texts are buoyant and inspirational, and the author doesn’t miss a chance to joke and tell a serious story in a light tone. […] Everything is obvious and clear in Salmenniemi’s short-stories, but nothing is over-explained; this is peculiar, if you look at the novels as Zeitgeist. Dolphin Meditation is a superb collection, in which the prose is beautiful, thoughts are plenty and the amount of suffering and ill-being is bedazzling.”
– Hämeen Sanomat newspaper
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