Harry Salmenniemi: Uranium Lamp

An amazing, twisted, and funny update of the Finnish short story tradition.

Author: Harry Salmenniemi
Finnish original: Uraanilamppu
Publisher: Siltala Publishing, 2017
Genre: literary fiction, short stories
Number of pages: 170 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sampl
e, German sample

Uranium Lamp is an exuberant collection of tales that exude the surrealism of everyday life and coax parody from small-town mentalities and racism. These polished, linguistically elegant stories are startling, stirring, and amusing. They draw as precise a portrait of an infinite salad, an insane conglomeration of all tourist destinations, and a fascist footballer as they do an ominous conversation between author and publisher.

Harry Salmenniemi is one of Finland’s most respected contemporary poets. Uranium Lamp is his first collection of stories, and has been described as “a giant leap forward for the Finnish short story”.

“Simultaneously sad and ridiculous, these powerful, surreal stories of everyday life, with all their laconicism, are nevertheless linguistically stylish and masterful prose.”
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

“It isn’t the characters but the language, and the reader, who play the reading roles in Salmenniemi’s stories. The lucid language has a weightless momentum, moving effortlessly from nihilistic characterizations to descriptive vignettes and from internal images to outward ones.”
– Kiiltomato literature magazine

“Harry Salmenniemi’s first work of prose is a giant leap forward for the Finnish short story. I sometimes felt like whooping with excitement while reading. But enjoyment of these stories requires a willingness to go along with the author’s textual games.”
– Suomen Kuvalehti magazine

“Salmenniemi’s language is poetry – but then, what else would it be? It flows, it glides, never halting, never pulled under by lurking undertows.”
– Kirja vieköön blog

“Salmenniemi’s collection as a whole is devastatingly interesting. It is innovative, strong, and courageous throughout.”
– Reader, why did I marry him? blog

“Even jaded readers who’ve read it all will be amazed and gladdened. Every story in Uranium Lamp is a delightful surprise.”
– Virke magazine

“As a poet, Salmenniemi is anything but ordinary. The same brave innovativeness can be seen in his stories.”
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

Also available:
Customer Coral (2021)
Victim Syndrome (2020)
Dolphin Meditation (2019)

About the author:
Harry Salmenniemi