The Brewe -chronicles (translated into English by Saara-Aliisa Korjus)
The Brewe- chronicles
As usual, the editorial of a local newspaper gathered to have their morning coffee around nine am. The left-handed, red-headed chief editor turned on the television. Her green eyes flashed. She laughed and said:
-Here we go, it’s starting. As she sat down, she pulled her wine-red dress a bit lower. A few of us reporters sat around the table.
On the screen, a blond female reporter glimpsed at the camera. She smiled slightly and said:
-Here we are, good morning once again from Morning tv. Today we have a real special guest with us, welcome Mr. Hannu Alajoki.
We listened to stories from this dark suited man. With a polite tone, he went through the same things he had been saying since last summer. He scrabbled his thick dark hair, it had a touch of grey on the temple. He had published the book series “Brewe- chronicles”, written by Harri Harikka, the biggest and the most internationally successful book of all time from Finland. Hannu Alajoki stated:
-I must admit some of it was pure luck. A boy from Virrat didn’t know much about the rules of the Unwin’s or the Houghton’s for that matter. But that’s what success is like, among a fabulous national publication team…
Tell me about it, I thought to myself and sighed deeply.
The conversation continued about the negotiations with Hollywood and the success in them. Hannu Alajoki had gained unheard amounts of profit in them too, even on global scale. He calmly stated the share the writer’s family had got. The family’s accident was briefly touched upon. A hint of sadness visited in our chief editor’s eyes.
Hannu Alajoki laughed that in the international publication business he’s better known as Hakki or Hakky, however each person wants to write or pronounce it. Yeah, Hannu Alajoki publications Ltd, I thought gloomily.
The conversation proceeded to estimates about the series’ impact on the Finnish publication business. Hannu Alajoki uttered a laughter and stated that “I guess it means something when even the glass eyed prime minister has suddenly become a true friend of literature and talked about investing in exportation of culture”. Then he became serious and stated that the appreciation of fantasy is unheard of in a such utterly realistic culture as Finland.
Fantasy, indeed, I sighed. Suddenly, a gasp from the chief editor woke me. She held her hand in front of her nose. I asked her what’s the matter.
-She asked, where the exemplar for the Reburia -fantasy world map can be found. It’s nothing but a few ponds and teeny tiny islets in them. They’ve been cleared away to make way for new fields …
Oh, I didn’t know that, I thought to myself. Hannu Alajoki wasted pleasantries on the Finlandia -award committee. The Brewe- chronicles were added to the list in the last minute, due to necessity. According to Finnish custom the committee must’ve considered how it would look, abroad if the series hadn’t been awarded. With length, he explained the impact that the award has towards the appreciation of the fantasy literature. Even the oldest and most respected publicists tried to get their piece of the action. I suspected that HAKKy had acquired all publicists by renting them to Otava, WSOY and others with usurious prices.
When asked about comparing the Stagwoed to Saruman or the Roen family to The Kennedy clan, he said that all that depends on the reader’s opinion. According to Hannu Alajoki all similarities could’ve been from any family. He also thought that seeing the series as the new Lord of the Rings was every fan’s own estimate. Our editor laughed and her big bosom vibrated strongly:
-I doubt even he knew what was fact and what fiction….
I think not...
As comic relief Hannu Alajoki said: -Before I got this far, I used to often say that, if a reporter is a failed writer, then what is a publicist!
Everyone in the break room laughed, so did the blonde reporter in the morning tv. I was the only one who didn’t, I only stated in my mind that there we have it then. I started to think about how I ended up into this break room.
Long time before I ended up as a reporter for the local newspaper. I was born to a rich Finnish- Swedish family. The translated version of our name was the predecessor of one crime writer ” Rykämö” - I got a poem collection published way before I could read. My mother had collected bunch of my phrases into a notebook.
But in the beginning of school I had difficulties with learning to read. I was tossed around from a psychologist to another, during the first two years of school. They only kept repeating that he should be smarter than average. The phrases, that had brought pride earlier had now become the source of ridicule from the mouths of the older boys at school. My mockers weren’t the worst. The worst was the mass of which few said they were sorry and really on my side but that they didn’t dare to say so in public cause they were afraid of becoming the next victim. They expected me to understand.
In third grade, I learned to read and made up for my falling behind. My grades started to satisfy too. But I had become a loudmouth, I mocked the ones below me all the way till the end of upper secondary school. I tried so hard to show off, but I never rose higher than the tail end. Potentially being a part of such an influential” cultural family” created some pressure, not sure. I wanted to show” them”, even in my relationships. My girlfriends weren’t my own age but I went even further with two of my teachers. My father had used his best persuasion tactics with the principal and my mother gave me a ruthless morality lecture.
I applied as a ”civilian runaway” to the army and I ended up into one garrison in central Finland. The boys toughened by farm work outdid me with flying colours. The fact that I didn’t get in to the reserve officers training corps was hard for my father. In those days all graduates usually automatically ended up there. Physicality didn’t matter. As I applied to be a summer reporter in to one magazine, the interviewer snorted” a graduate and a plain pioneer!”. Later, I found out about his family’s history in the Finnish White Guard. My father’s pleas didn’t help this time.
At the same time, I applied to the university of Tampere to study journalism. Among the other applicants was a dark-haired man from Virrat. He was fresh out of army and applied to the faculty out of curiosity. As I introduced myself, he was already telling me he got a job at the printing house of the industry building across the street. Hannu Alajoki seemed to be more interested in publications than writing them.
While waiting for the results, I wrote a few stories for the local free newspaper. My father’s connections worked better to that end. I wondered why. My visiting cousin persuaded me to date a blonde student.
In the meantime, Hannu Alajoki had got into action. He had gone through all the processes of printing a paper or any publication. Though, he worked in the case room, he had learned the basics of printing on the fly too. He took, the rejected texts for one leisure time publication with him and went through them.
Even though he always spoke politely and gracefully, at times there was a certain manic vibe in his words. At this time, he started to enthusiastically tell me:
-Listen, Herman, these stories are worth publishing. Since we’re both waiting for results, let’s start making a magazine of these. It probably won’t be a success at first but…
As I wasn’t able to contradict him, I started to correct the mistakes and work on the plots. Most of the time, Hannu just read the stories and left them with me to blow some life into them. He didn’t declare the policy of the forthcoming Hannu Alajoki publications Ltd. When the results of the exams came I realised I had no chance of getting in to university because I had forgot to sign one of the exam papers. Hannu would’ve gotten in among the above median but by then he had become fully immersed into the magazine.
With great enthusiasm, I started to composite the stories and sent feedback letters to the writers. I pointed out the importance of the touch of real life in the stories. For the first time of my life, I started to feel like I had a purpose. Hannu didn’t have much money but had great enthusiasm. My father gave me just enough money that I managed through the year, because the blonde student girl Leena got pregnant. I gave Hannu enough money to buy a used van on a hired purchase. He drove to all the R-kiosks from bigger towns to the hinterlands with a small batch of” the Art of Living” magazines. Neither of us knew how long this would last.
Hannu liked meeting new people and during the year talked a few book stores into selling our magazines. In the mid-eighties, he was brave enough to ask for a loan from a bank and eventually registered the company. Hannu would’ve wanted a corporation but I convinced him to choose Hannu Alajoki publishing Ltd. Known as HAKKy in Finland. I figured this way there wouldn’t be so much risk to my father, if we failed.
By the following year already, Hannu bought a new van and stayed longer and longer on his trips. I continued to give meticulous instructions to the writers. I thought I was doing them a favour. Few of them wrote back saying they had had enough of my continuous correcting. I thought it was arrogance. That year we had our first bigger disagreement about the company’s publication policy.
Hannu was adamant that he wanted to expand the sector of the new publishing company. He put out adverts about a new lampoon publication to magazines. Though Pahkasika was doing well at the time, few eager writers came to work for us too. I felt insecure among all those satire cartoons, stories and the lot. I was a lot happier in the real-life touch of the Art of living magazine. Hannu kept saying” imagination, imagination. I’m sure you’ve got some!” when I was constantly incapable to compile even the first page of the” Montana” -magazine, he finally snapped:
-So, are you incapable to compile it or you don’t want to???
I sat in silence, shell-shocked. He acquired a student to finish the first number. That magazine lasted about two to three years. Montana died down and the policy changed every time a new editor in chief came along. Along such magazines as Mad and Pyton, it became merely a curio in the history of magazines. Generally, the most remembered story was a parody comic strip about the new wave music, about Matti-Emppu Mölhö and his band Huh. It was written by Harri Haarikka.
Around the same time Hannu came across a science publication in a kiosk in Hämeenkyrö. He got an idea for a similar magazine and mentioned it to me. I thought the idea was a bit too utopian for me. He then asked the editor in chief of the publication to work for him. It didn’t succeed very well and barely survived. Hannu started showing less interest towards the Art of Living. He said it was a” meal ticket”. I bit the bullet about the style of the magazine.
Within the next two years the editor in chief of the science-fiction magazine said a teacher can’t work on the magazine as a second job. Hannu then gave it to me. The writers complained about my meticulous instructions. My demands for a more realistic description was also like poison to them too. I wrote there myself with pseudonym as if to show them how it’s done. Still, to my utter annoyance I had to admit I wasn’t able to create characters the way some of the writers could. Especially the newest writers, Harri Haarikka and his wife Natalie. I sent angry circular letters to them. The demand of the science magazine decreased and naturally Hannu was unhappy about it. The decrease affected our standard of living as well, so much so that our daughter Dorotea didn’t get the Christmas present we had already promised her.
Hannu decided to get someone new to compile the science-fiction magazine and re-started his policy of hiring temporary journalists from the university’s faculties. The magazine had some good and some bad days. Still, during this gamble, money exchanged owners. Suddenly, Hannu wanted to district expansion even though I was against it. He simply stated:
-If the bank manager smiles like Mika Tiivola, it’s a bad omen… I watched his retirement party from the news…
Despite my best efforts to convince him about expanding in such a golden era of printing houses, Hannu stayed awkwardly silent. Eventually, he agreed to hire a retired veteran of sensation journalism to edit a war story journal under an alias. That series of war short stories turned out to be a lot more valuable than anyone even Hannu expected.
The 90’s tested the printing houses and publishers. Hannu had to cut writers’ commissions. He thanked quitting regular writers and wished them well for the future. A few of them had a bright future in bigger publishing companies, but they didn’t really give any credit to HAKKy for the groundwork, apart from thanking us for a steady commission payment. The ones who stayed wanted to get more freedom in terms of their stories. However, I kept them in check as well as maintaining the standard of the magazine. The war magazine’s demand was steadily growing and Hannu dared to say to me:
-A Professional journalist was definitely a good idea.
The illustrated science magazine Corona Memory, still wasn’t making headway. Though I tried to emphasize having a certain standard in the stories and wrote circular letters to the writers about the right kind of writing. Hannu adamantly refused to run it down. He was just waiting for the right person to edit it. He read short stories about war and regularly gave them to the veteran journalist as a freelance job. The Art of Living started to become more and more my responsibility. I maintained the standard of realistic stories, but the demand kept steadily decreasing. I thought it was because people couldn’t afford to buy vanities. I wanted to ask my father to get me a job from some bigger publishing place but I didn’t have the guts. My blonde teacher wife’s income started to be bigger than mine. On more occasions, I stayed late in the pubs in the centre before going home.
Then the married couple Haarikka sent in a script of The Adventures of Droll Pork. I thought the story was boring and technically weak. In the stories he wandered on wide fields, philosophized, while leaning on a fence and occasionally escaped from home. Hannu insisted that I should compile it to publishable order,” there’s something here”. I said I report stories and curse the concept of” imagination”. That’s when Hannu said, to finish the argument, for the first time:
-We’re making a living on people’s imagination, right?
Later he said it was a joke. But I wasn’t the humourous type. Around this time, another new temporary journalist came along. She was a luscious version of the blonde Elovena girl on the cereal logo.
She was a newly graduated teacher and got a job from a modern yet infamous suburb of town.
Kaarina Tiusajärvi’s first order of business was to get The Adventures of Droll Pork to publishable form. With a serious face she read the script without moving her lively lips, after which she sighed. Then she looked at her watch and frowned. Kaarina just happened to call at the exact time when one elementary school somewhere in Finland had a recess.
-Hello, I’m Kaarina Tiusajärvi and I’d like to speak to teacher Natalie Haarikka. Oh, it’s you…. She sighed out of relief. I firmly stayed behind my own folding screen and manically focused on the scripts of the Art of Living. To one of the writers I wrote that I know a thing or two about story structures. I snorted to the end.
Kaarina Tiusajärvi managed to get a grip on Natalie and Harri Haarikka. During the first phone call already, she found out about her unique background and the temper that came with it. I didn’t care about the father of the Viaborg-dutch van Breizh family or the Ukrainian mother. I was only interested in the illustration that Natalie Haarikka had made and I thought it lacked all flair.
It wasn’t realistic. Kaarina asked me to give her a stack of a few fairy tales with illustrations. She browsed through them and then picked one from the bottom. Again, she hesitantly took the phone and dialled the number.
-Godda, jag är Kaarina Tiusajärvi från Hannu Alajoki…. Oh, you speak Finnish too. And there’s no need to address you formally either. Yes, about this script…
Kaarina continued the conversation with her steady harmonious voice. Within days, she managed to agree, that in the future, the main responsibility of writing The Adventures of Droll Pork would belong to Harri Haarikka, and that Solveig Östström would finalise the illustrations based on Mrs. Natalie’s drawing. Kaarina even persuaded Hannu to credit them both on the illustrations, though the second commission meant some extra costs.
I stayed distant towards this colleague of mine. Though I politely joined her for a coffee break when she stopped by to check for new scripts, amidst her own work. I watched her elegant way of holding a coffee cup, and secretly glanced at her bright blue eyes. Still, I decided to stand my ground and highlighted the importance of following the instructions of the publisher to the writers. As usual, Hannu hesitated to contact a larger printing house, though he thought the Droll Pork would become his first bigger success. His insecurity towards financial matters had increased, sometimes it was positive and sometimes negative.
As the veteran journalist ran out of steam, the war story journal I was left holding the bag. I read through them and had the same policy with those stories, though few of the writers wanted to be different. Kaarina managed to get some stories through to the Art of Living and was the first freelance based journalist who became a regular second journalist. She wrote thorough and friendly letters to some of the people who offered her stories or books. I stood my ground about the policy of our publishing house. People didn’t respond to my letters. She always spoke politely about my long career and her black skirt swung as she turned from the office to the bus stop. My wife complained that I spent too much time at the office. I intended to keep my job despite of the new, blonde beauty, who was working for Hannu.
Where the war story journal had kept us afloat, the droll pork was the first actual success of the firm. But it didn’t really breakthrough in Finland until Kaarina got a hold on a Danish translator and sent that version to her friend from Interrail. Who in turn translated it to Swedish and the swede forwarded it to Norway after he was finished with it. For the first time in a long time Hannu smiled widely. He also gave the blonde a bonus, thanks to the Nordic income. I was very actively busy with the war journals and Corona Memory but their demand didn’t even come close to the golden years. Hannu said he was going to give Corona Memory to Kaarina as a test.
I didn’t like the idea. I thought a young teacher couldn’t replace my instructions. I also needed the income for my family. Hannu suggested that I’d continue as a freelance and gained income by working in other magazines as well. I thought of it, and that was it. At home I was distracted, on my own and thought about the situation at the office. As well as that load of empathy, who got more warm welcome from the script offering people than I had ever had.
Kaarina managed to get the Corona Memory to succeed better. She was increasingly confident in calling to many writers, listened to their opinions and at times persuaded them about their writing. I started to feel more and more insecure about my position and thought of ways to improve it. I spent increasing amounts of time in the pub near the office. While there, I heard a story, and thought it might work in my favour. The next day, I walked into Hannu’s office and closed the door behind me. I coughed and Hannu raised his eyes.
-What’s the problem? He asked, frowning.
-Well…. That new journalist, that Kaarina Tiusajärvi….
-Yeah, she’s got sci-fi to succeed better than ever. A fairy tale, I could’ve never imagined that this kind of publishing house would get success with something like that. But we didn’t, damn it, Finlandia’s!
-Yeah, but I’ve… well…heard….
-Yes? Hannu’s face turned into an unreachable poker face.
-That… when she was substituting in the boy’s wood work… the boys stripped her as a gang!
Hannu looked at me calmly for a moment. Then he burst into loud laughter. I didn’t know what to do. When he had finished Hannu said:
-So, what. She’s a classy lady. The school downplayed it by paying Kaarina extra holiday pay. What are you trying to say?
Confused, I stepped out of the office. Distracted, I was looking at the scripts. I don’t remember what I wrote to my circular letters for the war magazine and the Art of Living. Kaarina was reading one script with a reddish face. at the end of office hours, Hannu loaded stacks of magazines into his new van and circled the counties. He had started planning hiring a courier firm.
I don’t know if it was due to our conversation but Hannu decided to launch a Men's magazine called the Bomb and give it to Kaarina to compile. I thought it was absurd for a woman to compile a Men's magazine but still, blushing Kaarina chose the stories and decided on the pictures. As she personally collected them and learned to lay them out, surely, they suggested that she would model in some of the pictures as well. I was fairly sure she posed in few that didn’t show a face.
As a magazine, the Bomb was our most successful magazine so far. I tried to get some stories into it but I never really learned to write that kind of stuff. Hannu was able to raise everyone’s salaries and I was finally able to get a Christmas present for my daughter. My wife complained that I spent too few hours of the day with the family. I had finally dared to go freelance. But the magazines didn’t really give me anything big. The firms that hired me, were small places. The commissions weren’t anything fancy. The continuation of the Droll Pork as well as its spread all the way to Iceland guaranteed HAKKy’s first profitable year.
Hannu spoke about animation with the Japanese. They politely refused as the series hadn’t succeeded outside the Nordic countries. Hannu brooded about it for a while but then managed to get a deal with the Finnish television channel 2. The channel took their share but HakKy got a fine bunch of money even after the commissions of the tv company. He liked the Nordic success but he still wanted something more.
Kaarina suggested a romantic series of books for women called Tea Time. It was relatively successful. I noticed she approved more and more stories by married couple Haarikka to the magazines she worked on, to Corona Memory in particular. Natalie’s stories even got through to the Bomb. I didn’t favour anyone especially, I tried to uphold some standard. But the magazines I compiled started to play the second fiddle to the one the luscious blonde compiled. Hannu dared to hire a courier firm to distribute the magazines and books. Occasionally, he drove himself but I noticed it became less frequent.
I wasn’t invited to the Christmas party, Hannu was self-consciously polite in saying that it would probably be better if I spent Christmas with the family for change. I realised I was absent- minded then. My wife stayed silent as if in protest and Dorotea didn’t know what to do. I heard Hannu spent the whole party with Kaarina. Even the temporary journalist student had received an extra bonus instead of an invitation. I had very little of HAKKy material to finish.
In spring, Hannu and Kaarina got married in secret. Kaarina became Alajoki-Tiusajärvi. They went on a honeymoon to the Bahamas and for the duration of it they gave everything essential to me.
With great enthusiasm, I started to instruct all writers. A bunch of them were extremely confused about my method and some even refused to write all together. I didn’t give in and demanded them to keep their end of the bargain. I thought the magazines were better now, text wise.
That’s when two scripts caught my eye. One was a 'Report from the Master'. It was about building a brick house in the developing area. It had all the elements that interested me. Eagerly, I sent my instructions to the writer. He followed them to the letter. Our communication was so wonderful that I compiled our regular magazines and books only mechanically. I sent instructions to the writer every day, during the couple’s vacation. I really thought the story had something in it. It even occurred to me that it might bring us the Finlandia, Hannu so much desired.
Just before their return, the The Brewe- chronicles script by Harri Haarikka arrived to me. It was the first of five actually. I wrote him a bitter letter about how I had had enough of their stories. I also made it abundantly clear that the book was an incoherent and structureless piece of work. I stated that in my opinion they didn’t fill the standards of the traditional Finnish writing in any way. I also made it clear that the illustrations were rudimentary. I called it sloppy, as if done by a left hand.
Proudly, I presented a Report from the Master to Hannu. After reading the script he presented me with a dry thank you. Kaarina, who gave up her post as a teacher after the wedding, got a huge pile of welcome back letters from the writers. After that day, I went to the nearby pub to unwind. At home, my wife complained that I was practically never there. And even when I was, I still really wasn’t present. My daughter didn’t speak to me anymore either.
Hannu visited around where the Haarikka’s lived. Kaarina had started to wonder why there wasn’t any more stories coming from Harri and Natalie’s stories were so heavy they needed more work than usual. I had a strange feeling inside me. But I defended myself by the fact I was upholding the standard for the stories.
The Report from the Master got great reviews in the bigger newspapers. Proudly I was showing them to Kaarina and Hannu. They just nodded. My enthusiasm just simply didn’t catch on to them. They didn’t participate in a celebratory lunch which I arranged with my family. It was held in the finest restaurant in town and it was very formal. My wife’s smile seemed somehow mundane.
Hannu had visited the Haarikkas again and on spring he advised Kaarina to visit there to” calm things down”. She got two weeks leave of absence. Hannu hired a guy from university to compile Kaarina’s regulars. I didn’t mind as I finally had my own golden egg. I was actually relieved to be rid of the Haarikka couple. Following the success of The Report from the Master on the reviews, re-energised me in a way which I had never experienced before.
Kaarina returned after a good two weeks. She was wearing the kind of dress I had never seen before. She said her time there had been” the strangest two weeks of my life”. Mainly, Kaarina had substituted for a male teacher who had fallen ill at the time. From behind the office door I heard her talking with Hannu about Natalie’s situation. They also talked about a strange school photo, which Kaarina was holding. I was wondering why they didn’t mention Harri at all.
After the conversation Hannu came to see me. With awkward voice he said:
Don’t you think it would be high time for you to move on to somewhere bigger? Such as, WSOY or something? As the Report from the Master, is in this stage now…
I thought of all these years that I had dedicated to this company. Still, after few days of consideration I decided to take Hannu’s advice. His recognition boosted my confidence. One of the bigger publishing companies accepted my application.” because a journalist, who came from HAKKy and has a Finlandia -prize candidate, had to be good”. When I came home with a bottle of champagne to celebrate, I realised my wife and daughter had left without even as much as a note. I drank the Champagne as if it were vodka on midsummer eve.
The Report from the Master really did become a Finlandia -prize winner. I tried to find my family but it was futile. Despite the prize Matti Veikkola didn’t become a great author. The amounts of sold copies were minimal, despite the Finlandia-prize. Slowly, Veikkola went off the radar. There were just a few reviews of a” impersonal and schematic writer”. My stint at the bigger publishing house was short lived. Some even thought I got the job thanks to my late father’s connections.
Meanwhile, Hannu had visited Natalie again, in effort to make her feel better and sent Kaarina there again, for a short period of time as well, to support the teacher lady. Kaarina was already pregnant and she spent an” even stranger two weeks” there. As I made an effort to reach my family, from an address I found as hearsay, I saw Kaarina stepping onto a train in that town. She was wearing a blue jumpsuit and seemed somehow confused. Awkwardly, I looked away from that blonde’s eyes. A tall pregnant woman, who was standing on the platform, caught my eye. She had an unspeakable sorrow in her eyes. Later, I heard that at beginning of her upper secondary school years she stepped out of a train to this station without knowing anything else about the place apart from the fact that Harri Haarikka lived a few miles from the station. The two were class mates.
I still worked full time in the bigger publishing house. I worked day and night with different projects to prove how good I was at my job. In spring, Natalie became the god mother for the Alajoki twins and vice versa. I had stopped wondering why Harri’s name wasn’t mentioned in connection with the Haarikka’s. Kaarina visited their town once more. Probably to sort things out again, I thought, spitefully. Then the first Brewe-chronical was published. It really didn’t impress me and it didn’t sell so well in Finland and at the time it made very little money for HAKKy. My fulltime project with literature reached the stage of being published. It was a realistic description of lumberjacks but it didn’t succeed so well either. My attempt at school books and non-fiction books was only seen as a good effort. The writers thought I wasn’t giving them enough space.
My persistent effort in trying to prove my abilities, didn’t work out in the years that followed either. The second Brewe-chronical also came out and was a success within the enthusiasts. The book added to HaKKY’s reputation just enough that The Corona Memory gained more readers. From between the lines I started getting such remarks that I should try to get back to” my previous job”. Or at least that’s how it felt like. My mother died in a plane crash during one of these years. The last I saw her we had a big argument about the failure of my marriage. My few efforts of trying to find my wife and child got to losing hope.
I sent a job application to Hannu once. He stated he was interested but at the moment there wasn’t any fitting post open. The demand of the Art of Living had improved a little and Bomb was doing excellent. The Tea time was doing okay. I decided to try to get some stories into them, but all I got was feedback letters which said my writing was too schematic. Eventually, I got a job from similar type of publishing house in Oulu.
I worked there for one year, until I was let go around the same time the third Brewe-chronical was published .It was the first to gain bigger success. Öström’s translation spread to other Nordic countries too. Bigst was a character, which created discussion in certain sci-fi-fantasy magazines. So, did Roen’s brother, who took a hit from a lightning for his brother. Natalie Haarikka published her first fairy tale from a series of books” G.Host, My calling is a ghost”. I didn’t like it at all but it gained more success in Nordic countries than the Droll Porks had before.
In the following years, fairy tales by Harri Haarikka were published. He had had a massive amount of inspiration from the various soil types, shapes and such at his farm. The magazines started to write articles but no interviews. Natalie’s fairy tales succeeded and Hannu Alajoki gave his first interview in a publishing magazine. He predicted that in the future reading will become more and more digital. I didn’t really believe in it. At this time, I was working as a local reporter for a newspaper in Northern Ostrobothnia. But that didn’t last either for more than a year. They ridiculed me over my habit of talking about the right style of writing to other reporters. This was when I heard that,” we’re not editing books here” for the first time. They also talked about my drinking and smoking habits.
In time the fourth Brewe-chronical was published. It was done by a nordic publishing house, just like the Droll Porks and G.Host were. They contacted Hannu and asked about previous parts. He negotiated such a succesful deal that Kaarina doubted it could work in practise. Yet, it did. Hannu had a party in Haarikka’s small farm for the team. The characters started to provoke discussion in all types of magazines not just its own genre. In particular, the sudden return of Roen’s brother awoke discussion.
To start the new millennium some fan even had time to make a cd of Harri Haarikka’s books. At the time I didn’t have much to do with HAKKy anymore. My position at the Northern Ostrobothnia newspaper was gone. I wrote a fire and brimstone review of the Brewe-chronicals. The editor-in chief said they didn’t need such a snide and spiteful review. As I applied for a job from other publishing houses, my merits weren’t really noted. I spent most of my time at the local library looking for a job. I tried to plead with my wife’s relatives but that small amount of people didn’t respond to my invitations. Some employers spoke enthusiastically about the Brewe-chronicals but I simply didn’t want to talk about six people’s trip to the Tapero-cave and back.
The fifth book was published in its own time as well. For the first time it was simultaneously published in all Nordic countries at the same time, along with the parts that hadn’t been published there yet. I was annoyed by a positive review by a swede. He especially liked the characters. In particular, the isolated, former leader of the great mountain, Drumpf with his lies. The white midget told them all the time and his loyal entourage blindly believed him. HAKKy sold the Bomb to a publishing house, which had already bought all the more traditional magazines. The publication of the war magazine ended because” there wasn’t enough writers and readers anymore”.
About halfway through the 21st century, HAKKy had created web sites to its magazines. Particularly Coronary Memory succeeded very well as an online magazine. A dark-haired woman, who had been Natalie’s pupil on elementary school, had arrived to compile it. Before that she had worked as an au pair in France and while there translated the Brewe-chronicals in French. My misfortune increased, I didn’t get a job from neither magazines nor publishing houses. I even had to work for the local radio and Finnish Broadcasting Company, though my voice was very clumsy and I was rather odd-looking under the studio lights for the camera. I sought comfort from the Bomb’s web page. I recognised the style of one of the writers. Some of others had similarities too. I admitted that I read it for other reasons too.
The beginning of the next decade, English translation of the first part broke through in England. It was also done by Natalie’s old pupil from elementary school. Unwin didn’t expect to be a huge success at the beginning at least. That’s why Hannu Alajoki was able to get such a cheap deal. The news made to cultural program of Natalie’s third student. At the same time a sensational magazine published a story about Harri Haarikka. According to it he went to a barn long time ago and hanged himself. Due to a publicist who had turned down his life’s work. His wife had struggled to get over it. She hadn’t remarried. After reading this I literally broke down. The ones, who speculated about the red midget called Bist as a possible reincarnation of Bigst, never got an answer. He just stayed as a character who told his own stories to his loyal little group on his puny island. His versions didn’t match the other stories at all.
The translation of the second part succeeded rather well. Thanks to that, HAKKy gave the Art of Living to one publishing house and Teatime were run down. Even though many of its fans wrote to say it was sad. I saw my grown-up daughter on a page of one science magazine as a journalist trainee. Except she used her second name Mirja and her mother’s maiden name. Due to my drinking binge, I didn’t even consider contacting her.
The third part was the first true success in English. That’s when people started wondering why Rits replaced by Bigst on the way back. That conversation would never end. Even though Bigst was only taken along because he was the only one who had seen the dark silver sword. I was in treatment for my alcoholism at the time. I wasn’t sure if I was going to survive.
The fourth part in English really broke the bank for HAKKy. When even the American’s got excited about the book and played role games just like everyone else. The one about the Land of Two Seas towards the great mountain. I didn’t have it in me to read the series. I was so exhausted mentally and physically. I was particularly bothered by what had happened to Harri Haarikka. Now I understood Natalie’s expression at the Korsti railway station way back then.
After the fifth part was published in the States. Brewe -chronicles’ place in the universal litterature started to be clear. The previous parts also broke through everywhere now. The majority of people thought Rits’ place was justified, because only he knew the way to the Great mountain and fifth-glover throne. Natalie stayed closely outside of the public eye with her family. Despite that someone had figured out the location of their remote farm and wanted to know the paragons for the places of the book. When that started to happen more often she bought a house from town. Her son became a guide. For Natalie, it was enough Hannu Alajoki, as director of HAKKy, collected unheard of profits from publishers, films and merchandise. I was in such a condition that I decided to have a go as mere reporter. Due to my guilty conscience I decided to change my name.
I stood up from the coffee table and walked downstairs towards my own computer. It was time to really try to write the story about a local football match. The phrase,” we’re not editing books here” was still in my mind. Our editor in chief turned her head towards me, winked at me supportively and said:
-You’ll get it done!
Indeed, the young editor in chief Veera Haarikka is the spitting image of her mother. As I still remember her mother at the station, I don’t know what to think.
This story is copyrighted by Jukka Ruskeeahde, Huittinen, Finland.
"When I know all about everything, I am old. And it's a very, very long way to go!"