Leena Krohn: False Window

How can the genuine be distinguished from an illusion, a falsehood from the truth, or sleep from consciousness?

Author: Leena Krohn
Finnish original: Valeikkuna
Publisher: Teos, 2009
Genre: literary fiction
Number of pages: 224 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample

Rights sold: Japan, Shinhyōron; Slovenia, Študentska založba

A former philosophy student has almost completely isolated himself in his house and in the flotation tank he has installed there. Full-time floating is a compulsion for the main character, a way of life that takes him away from the world of consciousness. The only window in the room is a painting by an illusionist.

In order to earn a living, the main character, whom his wife calls a false philosopher, grants philosophical audiences from his tank. Due to narcolepsy, though, he falls asleep in the middle of client meetings.

The state of the world darkens, the city is terrorized by the Dividers League, led by a mathematician, and in the same manner as the main character, the city folk flee to their own worlds. His daughter, Ava, sits behind her computer and spends her time in Fakeland. A biologist friend who studies amoeba behavior enjoys dogging in his spare time.

The question of how to distinguish between genuine and illusion, a falsehood and the truth, or sleep and consciousness recurs in different ways as the philosopher receives visitors. Guilt and fear, betrayal and love, universal intelligence, infinity and immortality are also topics of conversation. But the customers dwindle, the flotation tank leaks, and the philosopher’s last visitors come from either his own or others’ dreams. Perhaps the era when philosophers are no longer needed has arrived.

False Window is a critical, amusing, and melancholy novel about the impossibility of defining reality.

Also available:
Things I Never Learned (2021)
Perdition (2018)
A Letter to Buddha (2016)
Mistake (2015)
Hotel Sapiens (2013)
Children of the Sun (2011)
My Home is Riioraa (2008)
The Bee Pavilion (2006)
Datura (2001)
Mathematical Creatures, or Shared Dreams (1992)
Umbra (1990)
Gold of Ophir (1988)
Tainaron (2006 | 1985)
Doña Quixote and Other Citizens (1983)
The Pelican’s New Clothes – A Story from the City (1976)
The Green Revolution (1970 | 2020)

About the author:
Leena Krohn