Dominic Cavendish on literature

THE INDEPE ED:NORTH ISS DATE: 28/06 PAGE:10

"The Finnish language is the most beautiful language in the world," Rosa Liksom informs the small crowd gathered together in a remote nook of the Royal Festival Hall. The audience laughs. It's the sort of thing that is expected of a Finnish writer/performance artist on tour when they find themselves sharing their London billing with a certain Euro 96 semi- final. Then Liksom (below) laughs too, and everyone realises that she was actually being serious. It's a short show, this one, just herself and the poet Jyrki Kiiskinen reading original and translated extracts, but it is filled with extraordinary moments of false recognition. Both writers see themselves as part of a generation whose identity is bound up as much with a postmodern, urban experience as with their country's legendary natural landscape. But contemporary reference points that should seem familiar can suddenly twist away into stranger constellations. Many of the stories from Liksom's best known work, One Night Stands - some of which are read here - are set in violent, dark, cold cityscapes, but judging by the coarse, dispassionate style (exacerbated by the American translation) and Liksom's own interjections, the intended response is a wry smile. A woman decides to get rid of a depressed lover ("The fucker Velcroed himself to me on the basis of one night"), saying "I thought I had got me a real man" - "What a mistake!" Liksom adds cheerfully.

Kiiskinen, editor of Finland's best known literary magazine, Books from Finland, also takes on troubled male/female relations. His use of a conventional genre (detective fiction) briefly allows you to think that you're getting the measure of them. Then Liksom goes and shows some 8mm movies she made with friends. Drag queens in dark glasses cavort and pout to American pop standards. Everything is green and orange. Liksom giggles throughout. Is it nervousness or pride? It's impossible to say - which is just what you expected, really.

Tonight, 8pm, The Shed, Malton, N Yorks (01653 668494) pounds 7.50

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect