Henriikka Tavi: Tellervo

Tellervo is a fallen tree, a mummified crocodile – until she decides to turn into a magnetic woman.

Author: Henriikka Tavi
Finnish original: Tellervo
Publisher: Teos, 2018
Genre: literary fiction
Number of pages: 240 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample

Tellervo is living the best time of her life and decides she wants a relationship. The story takes off when she takes the advice of an American relationship coach and turns into a ‘magnetic woman’.

She sets up a dating circle with her friends, one with positive feminist energy, in order to find Mr Right. Adequate preparation is important, as are underwear, pelvic floor muscles and good photos (but no selfies). It’s also crucial to be a pearl and understand your pearliness.

Soon she’s inundated with date invitations and she starts flitting through a motley crowd of men: there’s Heart-Haunter, King Bee and Ben and Arthur.

Tellervo  is a funny, cheeky and slightly awkward story about truth morphed into sexual capital, about a tumultuous inner world – and the lack of it. It’s also a boisterous account of Tellervo and her friend, a story about a frantic search and loss of another person.

Tavi’s language combines prose, poetry and recycled life wisdom with an additional element: a drive observing the inner tensions of a sentence, laying the message bare. It’s embarrassing, enchanting and emotional, precisely like its subject matter.

“Being a pearl was slightly challenging. When Tellervo thought about layers of a pearl, she felt herself spreading and shattering. The sea shells were crushed in between stones, and licked by waves. But whoever said that the road to love should be dancing on a bed of roses? Tellervo was sitting by the Sea of Love. She was undressed and translucent. She might soon step into the water. Fishermen were gathering to the shore, fishing because they were hungry. Nonetheless, woman is not a fisher nor a fish, she is a lure, a hook with a writhing worm ready for a fish.”

About the author:
Henriikka Tavi