Harry Salmenniemi: Customer Coral

Salmenniemi’s perplexing short stories are a phenomenon.

Author: Harry Salmenniemi
Finnish original: Asiakaskoralli
Publisher: Siltala, 2021
Genre: fiction, short stories
Number of pages:  214 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample

An accountancy firm’s office Christmas party transforms inexplicably into an orgy. The participants play out what went wrong in the team. A human trafficking company explains its ethical principles. A top Finnish pianist speed-dates soldiers on NATO exercises. The business sector presents its interpretations of paintings by Caravaggio and Raphael.

Harry Salmenniemi’s series of short story collections has now reached the point where the reader is rewarded with half-hearted sex and hollow advice. After reading Customer Coral, you’ll know why you should bury all your difficult feelings – and the reason why Salmenniemi never landed the job of mayor in a small town in Eastern Finland.

Salmenniemi calls us away from the delusion that constantly blurs our vision, and it is up to us to respond to this call. The keys are in every story, and not just at the end or the turning point, but in every word, if only we listen carefully and look for them. When we’ve got the story, we’ve also got the key.
– Editor’s foreword to Customer Coral

Harry Salmenniemi’s unfathomable short stories are the best Finnish fiction there is today.
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

Also available:
Victim Syndrome (2020)
Dolphin Meditation (2019)
Uranium Lamp (2017)

About the author:
Harry Salmenniemi