Why “Helsinki Affair”?

I realized recently that I haven’t told you why my blog is called “Helsinki Affair”. It’s actually a pretty interesting story 🙂

When we just moved to Helsinki, I noticed that many houses have the memory plates, saying which famous person used to live there. In most cases, these are either writers or philosophers. It’s a very exciting exercise, by the way, to walk around the city reading these signs and picturing how this or that neighbourhood looked like at the time, when this person was still alive. For those, who have troubles imagining, there is an interactive map of Helsinki, where you can track how Helsinki has been changing.

But back to my story. Once I spotted a similar memory plate on the adjoining house. As I didn’t speak a word of Finnish at that time, I was only able to understand that someone called Mauri Sariola used to live there. I decided he was a painter, because his portrait was quiet artsy 🙂 See for yourself:


Later on with Markku’s help, I figured out that Mauri Sariola was a writer 🙂 I got interested, did some research and even managed to find one decent article about him in English.

What caught my attention is that Sariola studied law, but decided to abandon his studies. He worked for a bit at the law firm and at the bank. He also worked as a teacher at the elementary school. Later on, he became a reporter and wrote for Apu, Helsingin Sanomat and other newspapers and magazines. For 10 years Sariola was working as a crime reporter for Helsingin Sanomat, and after that he started his career as a writer.

He wrote over 80 books, most of which were crime and mystery novels. One of them, “The Helsinki Affair” (“Lavean tien laki” in Finnish), won the French literary prize Prix du Roman d’adventures. It’s a story about a young lawyer, Matti Viima, who investigates a mysterious case.

The book’s name captivated me. “Helsinki affair” was a perfect way to describe my feelings to the Finnish capital. I fall in love with it in a darkness and gloominess of November, when fallen leaves got slightly covered with a spider nets of ice and a sharp steeple of a nearby church pierced pearl grey clouds. After all, it was an affair of sorts 🙂

It was also a great motto for me reminding to keep looking for my way and to settle in a new life. As I wasn’t able to find this book in English, I decided to learn Finnish and read the original. Now, whenever I come back from language classes, I just look up at this plate and remember about my plan to read “The Helsinki Affair”. It gives me extra motivation and a strong desire to move forward. Hence, the blog name 🙂


5 thoughts on “Why “Helsinki Affair”?

  1. “Lavean tien laki” is very interesting book and Sariola was a good writer, I read all his books. How is your finnish today, are you able speak. I have just now learned the cyrillic, so I read and write, which was not easy. Now we start the grammar. I know some words, but just to ask name and tell who am I… and so on. I didn´t know that the name of the book is “Helsinki Affair”.


    1. I have no idea why the translated name is “Helsinki Affair” – was quite puzzled by that, in fact. And it’s so good to hear that you liked his books! Can’t wait to start reading them 🙂

      My Finnish is ok. I recently reached upper-intermediate level. My ability to communicate depends on the topic mostly. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing ok, but sometimes it’s hard to spot if there is any improvement.

      So, you are keeping up your Russian lessons! I think that it’s a tricky task to learn a new alphabet, and later on things will be a bit easier. Btw, there is a blog on Finnish language that I follow, and this post might be helpful to you as it has some tips for studying Russian: http://randomfinnishlesson.blogspot.fi/2015/06/how-i-studied-chinese-and-russian.html

      Liked by 1 person

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