Book Review | In Harry Salmenniemi’s new short stories, everything in capitalism reveals emptiness

The acclaimed series of short story collections has already reached its fourth part, but now a lack of rage, unhappiness and invisibility emerges.

Short stories

Harry Salmenniemi: Customer Coral and other short stories. Siltala. 208 s.

Harry Salmenniemen the series of short stories has progressed to its fourth part. The narration is elegant, the awareness of the structures of the text types is nicely civilized, the comic is built as a series of observations Raymond Carverin in the manner of. These are familiar features of all the author’s short story works.

Customer coral and other short stories takes the business and economic world, the different aspects of which it sheds light, as a thematic tip. The starting point is great, but something goes wrong.

Some of the short stories are finger-like. A series of job applications prepared for the position of mayor Applications goes under the bar of bureaucracy prose. The series of narrators forms a choir of still cynical voices. The short story criticizes the job search compulsion, which may put an unemployed job seeker looking for a place where he or she is not even considered. The point is pretty easy, and the implementation doesn’t add much to it.

Salmenniemi is in his production used the perspective of a narrator who was almost psychopathic.

There is such a thing in the nameplate. The sheer boredom of the workplace has made the big bosses of their workplace embrace the idea of ​​the customer as coral and nature as the customer: “Now every automotive, mid-body fat sales representative has been taught to see customers as sensitive, protected natural jewelry and nature as a fragile and diverse customer”.

The idea itself is fascinating in its insanity: what kind of biotope is a company, what kind of economic activity that circulates and transforms the whole life cycle?

But the short story plunges the reader into easy moralism. Looking at the mass of sales reps in their sense of superiority times makes them seem silly and harmful. In his organization, he is an ironic part: knowing he is doing wrong and still doing it is somehow better than those ignorant.

French international situationists once thought that the spectacle of capitalism misleads into believing in itself but really only obscures its hollow innermost being.

Avocado sexThe short story takes this perspective far: “It felt like it wasn’t even sex, it was like the knees were moving against each other,” the narrator describes the company’s little Christmas group sex experience.

The short story presents sex from the perspective of (at least) two narrators: for one, sex reveals emptiness, makes the boss avoid his subordinates and the gang on intensifying sick leave, for the other, it serves as an opportunity for growth. He expects the fruit to ripen in an area of ​​discomfort.

The voice of alienation leaks through the text: “We have so few animals left. We don’t even have people left. We are machines that move the mouse, study documents and graphs, and the machines cannot have any passion ”.

Some invisibility in this effort. The short stories turn into nihilistic proclamations of the fundamental hollowness of everything, especially everything pleasant.

Their man is a powerless bystander raison d’être is participation in the maintenance of the economic system. The condition is miserable, but there is nothing else. Narrators are repeatedly shown becoming aware of this pattern and paralyzing in front of it.

I know the narrator is not the same thing as Novell’s attitude. For example American psycho the mentality is not the same as the narrator Patrick Bateman, but its idea is to show a person like Bateman as a situation. However, when the narrator or narrative’s arguments and stills are repeated, they begin to become dominant in the work. And the dominant feeling is cynicism.

Short story Company resemble Eino Santasen dear look at capitalism (2020) on how to reach the mechanisms of capitalism by exaggerating, repeating, and reversing. Company outlines the company’s ethical strategy, which organically includes human trafficking.

There is a surplus of meaning in the short story that makes the text effervescent: “The company does not get confused about life but boldly focuses on death”. However, crippling awareness dominates Even the company the idea. We all know that our cheap clothes and equipment are based on an ecological and humanitarian catastrophe. And that’s wrong. But the fictional idea could carry alienation from the terminus further.

The satire of the book is at its most nuanced in the ekfrasis series, which offers inversions Paintings: “Lorenzo Lippi’s masterful still life shows how far women are still from equal pay”. Texts describing paintings that are hundreds of years old open up vivid perspectives on entrepreneurship and inequality through classic paintings.

Salmenniemi’s short stories have received unwavering praise from critics. Customer coral settles into a continuum of a series of earlier works that have aroused widespread admiration Uranium lamp (2017), Dolphin meditation (2019) and Victim syndrome (2020). The tricks of style and play are preserved.

Customer coral still feels like a book that has just flowed towards existence. Without joy, without rage, without curiosity about the world in which it will be read.

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