John Sundholm appears to echo Claudio Magris when he argues that the identity of the Swedish minority in Finland is no more than a literary abstraction. For there are no borders within Finland which serve to 'house' the Swedes, no space to which they might lay claim, no place, therefore, which can give them an identity, except for the 'non-place' of literature. Through belles lettres in particular, and the organisations set up to support them, a cohesive identity is sometimes artificially created, but this sense of identity is at odds with the everyday experience of the Swedish minority. Sundholm suggests, however, that despite this situation, it is sometimes possible for works to bridge the gap between a perceived need to serve common Swedish interests and the necessity within novels, at least, of creating a feasible fictional space. One such example is Monika Fagerholm's novel Wonderful Women by the Water (1997), which he presents as successful both in creating the necessary novelistic 'phenomenonological deceit' and in addressing (and by implication duping) the 'symbolic' economy upon which the author depends. Sundholm, however, does not confine the poetics involved to one minority culture in Finland. They are appropriate, he contends, not just for all minorities, but also - and here the links with Joyce become even more evident - for any modernist representation of identity.
Amsterdam: Rodopi , 2000. 165-179 p.