Episode 426 – Laura Lindstedt

Virtual Memories Show 426:
Laura Lindstedt

“I’m very aware that I see the world through a woman’s eyes and experiences. I think that all my novels do have female main characters and themes that can be considered feminist. There’s something that comes from my femininity into the writing, but it’s not without ambiguity.”

Finnish novelist Laura Lindstedt joins the show to celebrate the US publication of My Friend Natalia (Liveright, tr. David Hackston). We get into the challenges of translating a novel that’s all about the therapy sessions of an extremely literate and hypersexual patient, how the therapist’s method parallels Laura’s writing process, and my meta-theory of who’s actually narrating this amazing novel. We also talk about the influence of Nathalie Sarraute‘s poetics and the literary notion of Tropism (physical reaction of natural world), Helsinki’s book-life and how it’s changed in recent years, the joy of playing with the Finnish language and its etymologies, and the notion of gendered writing and why Laura chose to keep the narrator non-gendered (and why that made the audiobook a challenge). Plus, I get to founder over Finnish names, and Laura tells us the place she really wants to visit when we’re post-pandemic. Give it a listen! And go read My Friend Natalia!

“The layering therapy in the novel is based on artistic creation. It is parallel to writing itself. For my writing, I don’t have a plot line when I start. I don’t think of the work or characters at the beginning. I just start to write and the fictional world opens up little by little to me.”


“During the last 10 years, something has changed in Finnish literature. It’s become much more international, as books have become translated more and reached a wider audience.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

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About our Guest

Laura Lindstedt is a Finnish author. She is a significant reformer of literary fiction and much discussed critical darling. Her first novel Sakset (“Scissors”) was published in 2007 and nominated for the Finlandia Prize, the most prestigious book award for fiction in Finland. Her second novel, Oneiron – a fantasy about the seconds after death, earned her the Finlandia Prize. Oneiron was also a candidate for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2017. Her most recent novel is My Friend Natalia.

Follow Laura on Twitter and Instagram.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded remotely via Zencastr. I used a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Fancy photo of Laura by Jarkko Mikkonen. It’s on my instagram.

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