Jyrki Vainonen (1963) is an award-winning Finnish author who is renowned for his Finnish translations of the works of Seamus Heaney, Jonathan Swift and William Shakespeare. His debut work, collection of short stories (Tutkimusmatkailija ja muita tarinoita, Loki-kirjat 1999 ) Vainonen received the Helsingin Sanomat Debut Book of the Year Award in 1999. Vainonen has lived in Ireland and wrote his licentiate thesis on Jonathan Swift’s Irish pamphlets.
“Vainonen, an award winner in his native Finland, debuts in English with seven selections from three of his previous collections, introduced by Finnish fantasy powerhouse Johanna Sinisalo. Opening with the absurd—a husband vanishes on an ill-fated expedition into his unfaithful wife’s thigh in “The Explorer”—the book then delves into questions of identity (“Blueberries”) and transformation (“The Aquarium”). Sex is mutable (“The Pearl”) and comforting truths are revealed to be false, while faint suspicions prove terribly true (“The Refrigerator”). The author shows an easy comfort with the odd and disturbing, and sympathy even with his less sympathetic protagonists. The translators have done a masterful job of presenting his work with clarity. The one shortcoming of the collection is its brevity; at a scant hundred pages it seems too short to function as a proper introduction to the author. (Oct.)”