Arto Paasilinna. 2007. Im Wald der gehenkten Füchse. BLT. Bremen.
I studied Finnish and some classes in Finnish literature at university, so finding a book for Finland was an easy choice, too, even though I already read a lot of books written by Finnish authors. If you would like to read something unique, you should maybe try Johanna Sinisalo’s Troll. A lovestory. I enjoyed it, though it is a little weird. This post, though, is about an author I already knew and whom I already enjoy reading.
Arto Paasilinna is one of the most popular authors from Finland. Born 1942 in Lapland, most of his books take place there. His work has been translated in many languages and the main charakters usually are middle-aged men, who happen to get involved into small rural adventures. Even though his characters appear to be tragical sometimes, his sense of humor is perfectly fitting to them. To find out more details about Paasilinna, check out Wikipedia once again!
The Forest of the Hanged Foxes describes two different characters. Oiva Juntunen is a finnish crook. He used to live in Stockholm, but during the story he goes back to Finland. He stole gold bars that were on their way from Australia to Norway and it was his accomplices that got to jail for this. Now they are about to get out of jail, but Juntunen doesn’t want to share any of the gold, so he travels to Lapland to bury the gold in the ground there, but before he can leave he meets Major Remes, who did a maneuver in the region and is now on vacation because he actually is drinking too much. They lie to each other about their lives, but still they decide to dig for the gold of Lapland, in order to become rich. In the end the truth gets out as they get to know each other while living together. The whole story get even more into motion when the oldes Skolt-Sami lady, Naska, flees from the people who want to take her to an elder home, far away from home, and ends up with Juntunen and Remes.
They start living together, get the strangest kinds of visitors (prostitutes from Sweden, a police officer from the village and in the end one of his accomplices too).
After the winter, though, they decide to leave the place as it became boring in the end.
I enjoyed the book, though I must say that the end was a bit short and disappointing to me. The protagonists had more potential in developing a less short-lasting ending, instead of just writing that they returned and what became of them. Sure, the plot was more or less over and there was no point with them staying where they were, as Remes’ vacation is over and Jutunens accomplice-problem is also dealt with.
In both men you see this stereotypical picture of violent and/or drunkish man, a common criminal, who is suffering from some sort of melancholia. I actually can’t tell if it is true as I know only finish women, but one might consider some parts at least to be realistic, as Paasilinna loves to play with these sorts of characters.
I must admit that it hasn’t been a really deep read, but a pleasant, funny one. It doesn’t take much time or thinking when you read it. If you enjoy a book where you can laugh about slightly male jokes with a hint of finish bitterness, Paasilinna is your man!