The Winter War

The Winter War by Philip Teir Read Free Book Online

Book: The Winter War by Philip Teir Read Free Book Online
Authors: Philip Teir
    â€˜Sorry, what did you say?’
    â€˜I said that I have to make a confession. You know that interview you did that was published in Anna ? That was me. I didn’t want to tell you who I was when I phoned, because I was a little embarrassed.’
    She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. Max looked at Amanda. She was listening attentively, waiting to hear more.
    â€˜I thought the whole topic was ludicrous, but since that was the article I was writing … well, I suddenly thought about you. There was so much talk about that sex study back then. So that’s why I called you.’
    â€˜That was you?’ Max said.
    â€˜Uh-huh. I’m sorry. You’re not angry, are you?’
    â€˜Angry? Why should I be angry with you?’
    â€˜When I saw how drastically they edited your replies, I asked them to remove my name from the by-line. This kind of thing happens occasionally, so then I use a pseudonym. I’m actually a serious journalist, otherwise.’
    â€˜Is that right?’
    Max thought she must mean some kind of news reporting.
    â€˜So, I mean, if you’d ever agree to it, I’d like to do a proper feature article on you. A personal profile. I sometimes write for the Helsingin Sanomat .’
    â€˜You do?’
    â€˜On a freelance basis, of course. I’ll try to interest the editor. But aren’t you writing a book?’
    Max thought about the 1,500-page document in his computer. All those scattered notes about Westermarck, all the material that in some miraculous way still had to be shaped into a book.
    â€˜I’m afraid I am. Although I’m a bit behind schedule.’
    â€˜That doesn’t matter. You used to be everywhere – I mean back in the nineties. I always watched The Brains Trust when I was a teenager. We could do an article along those lines, you know: “Where Is He Now?” That sort of thing.’
    Max didn’t like the sound of that. As if he’d been forgotten and someone had been forced to look him up. He would have preferred a more dignified comeback.
    â€˜I’m not really sure …’
    â€˜Don’t you have a birthday coming up soon?’
    â€˜Sometimes they do features about people around their birthday.’
    Amanda had lost interest. She’d finished her juice and was now offering Edvard what was left of the biscuits they’d eaten as she tugged at Max’s arm.
    â€˜We’ll go in a minute,’ he told her. Then, turning to Laura, he said, ‘Actually, in three weeks I turn sixty.’
    â€˜That’s perfect!’ said Laura. Max wondered why she was so enthusiastic. She acted as if he really was somebody important.
    He looked at Amanda. She clearly thought it was time to go.
    â€˜Here, I’ll write down my number,’ he said to Laura.
    â€˜And I’ll talk to my boss. I can’t promise anything, but I think this could work.’
    â€˜If it happens, it happens,’ said Max as he stood up and called to Edvard, noting a happy tone in his own voice that surprised him.
    When they got home, Edvard ran to the living room and jumped on to Helen’s lap, making her spring to her feet with a muted shriek, since his paws were covered in mud. Amanda came rushing in after him.
    â€˜Grandpa is going to be interviewed for the Helsingin Sanomat !’
    Max hung up the dog’s lead and then joined the others in the living room. Helen and Katriina were sitting on the sofa. Christian still hadn’t made an appearance.
    â€˜Where’s Christian?’
    â€˜He went into town. To Clas Ohlson’s hardware store and a few other places,’ Helen explained.
    Max liked his son-in-law. He was the kind of person who could make complicated things seem simple. He could build and renovate a house, which was something that Max had never had time to learn. Christian was also unmistakably a Finland–Swede in the typical

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