An unmissable collection of short stories by Finland’s Mika Waltari
Six short stories—Something in a Man, An Iceland of Ice, Moonscape, Before the Twilight of the Gods, The Tie from Paris, and Freedom of a Man—comprise the Moonscape collection, which led to Mika Waltari being awarded Finland’s State Prize for Literature in 1954.
Moonscape follows two characters, Joel and Miriam, as they leave their childhood behind and become adults. Joel’s family foster Miriam when the children are just 12-years-old and it’s not long before Joel and Miriam develop romantic feelings for one another. As they grow up, Joel develops a keen interest in oriental languages, while Miriam harbours dreams of becoming an actress. The book follows the unsuccessful journeys of both characters.
After being separated for many years, the pair reconvene. By this point, Miriam is in an unhappy marriage, while Joel has been injured on the front lines. Their reunion does not, however, bring them the comfort that either of them are looking for. Moonscape is a poignant story about how the pressures of society can stand in the way of the dreams of individuals.
Mika Waltari (1908-1979) is the most popular 20th century Finnish writer who is best known for his magnus opus The Egyptian. Over a career that spanned five decades, Waltari published well over 100 works, of which 200 translations have been made. His works include at least 30 novels, 20 plays and 15 novellas, as well as short stories, poems, screenplays and essays. In 1957 he was appointed to the Academy of Finland, having previously won the state literature award five times. Waltari’s works have been translated into over 40 languages.
Croatian (A3Data 2001), rights reverted
English (G. P. Putnam’s Sons 1954), rights reverted
Estonian (Eesti Raamat 1984)
German (Paul Neff 1968)
Spanish (Guillermo Kraft 1957 / Ediciones GP 1967)
Hebrew (Poalim 2014)
Ukrainian (Folio 2016)
1954, State Prize for Literature
“Somehow [Waltari] seems to get inside the skin of the women of his stories more than… the men. And an unsavoury lot they are, with queer aberrations, excesses, abnormalities. Youth appears in strange guise too, misunderstood, thwarted, distorted by adult lack of comprehension, but oddly appealing in its very strangeness.” – Kirkus Review