My major plan for this current – but ending soon – holiday was to buy books. Yes, how unusual for me. The idea came to me just before we left home, so I didn’t exactly plan anything, other than I’d go into the bookshops in town and see what they had by Maria Turtschaninoff in the Swedish original.
Having fallen in love with Maria’s writing this year, I wanted access to more than what has been translated into English. She’s won awards, and all her published fiction is recent, by which I mean the last ten years. So obviously there would be books.
Uncharacteristically for me, I only made it into town after over two weeks, or I could have gone to the library. By the time I realised that the two bookshops had exactly one copy of Maresi between them, and nothing else, it was too late.
If I hadn’t been too tired by then, I’d have sat down and wept.
After some belated research, I found that of the four books I wanted, only two had been imported from Finland. Because that is the crux. They are Finnish, but written in Swedish. I was stupid enough not to see this as an obstacle for big brother Sweden.
Those two books I have now ordered online, from a shop that supposedly does not object to foreign customers.
The other two, well… I found both in online second-hand bookshops. One might well let me buy theirs. We just haven’t agreed anything yet. The other one had two options for sending; Sweden or Finland. I left them a message, but don’t feel hopeful.
At this stage the Resident IT Consultant and I discussed languages, and after finding we didn’t really know, Wikipedia informed me that Swedish-speaking Finns make up 5% of the population of Finland, or under 300,000. That’s on a par with Icelandic. Both langauge groups publish quite a bit, but while Icelandic crime seems to travel well, I’m guessing that old attitudes towards Finns are harder to shift.
I won’t be reading these books by Maria as soon as I’d hoped. But I trust I will. Except possibly for the rarest one.
Is it too late to weep now?