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

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam