Arto Paasilinna

Arto Tapio Paasilinna[1] (20 April 1942 – 15 October 2018[2][3][4]) was a Finnish writer, being a former journalist turned comic novelist. One of Finland's most successful novelists,[5] he won a broad readership outside of Finland[6] in a way few other Finnish authors have before.[5][7][8] Translated into 27 languages,[9] over seven million copies[7] of his books have been sold worldwide, and he has been claimed as "instrumental in generating the current level of interest in books from Finland".[8]

Paasilinna is mostly known[5] for his 1975 novel The Year of the Hare (Jäniksen vuosi), a bestseller in France and Finland,[10] translated into 18[6] languages, awarded three international prizes, and adapted twice into feature films.

Arto Paasilinna's brothers are the writers Erno Paasilinna, Reino Paasilinna and Mauri Paasilinna.

Arto Paasilinna
October 2007 (aged 65), Helsinki Book Fair
October 2007 (aged 65), Helsinki Book Fair
Born20 April 1942
Kittilä, Lapland, Finland
Died15 October 2018 (aged 76)
Espoo, Finland
Occupationjournalist, novelist, poet
EducationAdult Education College, Lapland (1962-1963)
Periodsince 1972 (fiction)
since 1964 (non-fiction)
Genrepicaresque, comedy, satire
Notable worksThe Year of the Hare (1975)
Notable awardsAir Inter (France)
1989 The Year of the Hare

Acerbi (Italy)
1994 The Year of the Hare

UNESCO Collection
1994 The Year of the Hare
RelativesErno Paasilinna (brother)
Reino Paasilinna (brother)
Paasilinna 20071130
Paasilinna at the age of 65 in November 2007

Early and family life

Arto Paasilinna[1] was born on 20 April 1942 in the Alakylä part of the municipality of Kittilä, in Lapland, Finland. His parents were Väinö Paasilinna (1902–1950, born Gullstén, changed his surname in 1934 after a family conflict) and Hilda-Maria Paasilinna (1908–1983, born Niva).[7] The Paasilinnas had seven children, five sons and two daughters, including the writer Erno Paasilinna; the writer, MEP and TV personality Reino Paasilinna; the painter Sirpa Paasilinna-Schlagenwarth; and the writer Mauri Paasilinna.[7]

Paasilinna studied at the General and Elementary School Line at the Lapland Folk Academy.[11]


Paasilinna initially worked as a journalist at Nuoren Voiman Liitto, Nuori Voima-lehti and various newspapers as writer and editor.[7] At the weekly magazine Apu, he was an editor (1968–1970) and later a columnist (1975–1988).[12]

In 1975, at the age of 33, Paasilinna found journalism growing "more superficial and meaningless" and desired a change;[13] that summer, he sold his boat to fund the writing of The Year of the Hare.[13] The book was an immediate success and from 1975 on Paasilinna became an independent writer[7][11] able to support himself with his novels, signed to Finnish publisher WSOY since 1977.[7] He still wrote journalism articles and was a columnist on Finnish radio.[13]

In 2000, Paasilinna was included[14] in the 6th edition of literary critic Pekka Tarkka(fi)'s dictionary Suomalaisia nykykirjailijoita ("Finnish Literary Authors", 1st ed. 1967).

In 2002, for Paasilinna's 60th anniversary, journalist Eino Leino published a biography of Paasilinna called Lentojätkä. Arto Paasilinnan elämä" ("The Flight Dude").[15] The same year Paasilinna published his own autobiography called Yhdeksän unelmaa ("Nine Night's Dream").[7]

As of 2009, Paasilinna had published about 12 non-fiction books and 35 novels, with almost one novel each year from 1972 to 2009 (except 1973, 1978, 2002): as his publishers say, "The annual Paasilinna is as much an element of the Finnish autumn as falling birch leaves."[5] He is "constantly being translated into new languages",[16] and 18[6] of his books have been translated overall into at least 27[9] languages: the translations beyond neighboring Scandinavian countries include: 17 into Italian,[17] 16 into German,[18] 11 into French,[19] 9 into Slovenian,[20] 6 into Dutch,[18] 5 into Spanish,[21] 4 into Korean,[22] and 2 into English, Ukrainian[23] and Catalan. Described as "The brightest star in the Finnish translated-literature firmament"[8] by Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, his success is claimed as having been "instrumental in generating the current level of interest in books from Finland"[8] by his publisher WSOY.

Paasilinna's books reflect quite common Finnish life, usually from a middle-aged male perspective, and in rural Finland.[24] Fast-paced, light and humorous in style, many of these narratives can be described as picaresque[24] adventure stories with often a satirical angle towards modern life. Certain of his stories have been described as modern fables,[25] such as The Year of the Hare, which sets an ex-journalist's quest for authentic life and values in the Finnish backwoods against the emptiness and meaninglessness of modern consumer society. Vatanen, the hero of this novel, takes an injured young hare with him on his quest, nursing the animal back to health, while his own dissatisfaction with his former urban lifestyle becomes ever more evident.

His 1974 novel Paratiisisaaren Vangit appears as Prisonniers du Paradis. This book is the humorous story of a UN charter that crashes on a deserted Pacific island. The passengers are lumberjacks and other forestry workers, midwives and nurses. As with The Year of the Hare (in French, Le lièvre de Vatanen), the narrator is a journalist. The multinational castaways (Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian and English) give Paasilinna ample opportunity to poke fun at issues of language domination and national stereotypes. The castaways set up a cashless society in which the only remuneration comes in the form of a cup of alcohol distilled in their jungle café in exchange for work for the collectivity. There is also a family planning clinic offering free IUDs. Soon, they find that they are not alone on the island and come up with a plan to get help.

Two of his novels, Lentävä kirvesmies and Rovasti Huuskosen petomainen miespalvelija were adapted to graphic novels by Hannu Lukkarinen.


In Finnish

Titles in quotes are indicative for untranslated books.


As of 2009, his 35 novels are:

  • 1972: Operaatio Finlandia ("Operation Finlandia")
  • 1974: Paratiisisaaren vangit ("Prisoners of the Paradise Island")
  • 1975: Jäniksen vuosi (tr. The Year of the Hare, 1995)
  • 1976: Onnellinen mies ("The Happy Man")
  • 1977: Isoisää etsimässä ("Looking for Grandfather")
  • 1979: Sotahevonen ("Warhorse")
  • 1980: Herranen aika ("Goodness Gracious")
  • 1981: Ulvova mylläri (tr. The Howling Miller, 2007)
  • 1982: Kultainen nousukas ("Golden Climber")
  • 1983: Hirtettyjen kettujen metsä ("The Forest of the Hanged Foxes")
  • 1984: Ukkosenjumalan poika ("The Son of the Thunder God")
  • 1985: Parasjalkainen laivanvarustaja ("Bestfooted Shipwright")
  • 1986: Vapahtaja Surunen ("Saviour Surunen")
  • 1987: Koikkalainen kaukaa ("Koikkalainen from Far Away")
  • 1988: Suloinen myrkynkeittäjä ("The Sweet Poison Cook")
  • 1989: Auta armias ("Heaven Help Us")
  • 1990: Hurmaava joukkoitsemurha ("A Charming Mass Suicide")
  • 1991: Elämä lyhyt, Rytkönen pitkä ("Life Short, Rytkönen Long")
  • 1992: Maailman paras kylä ("The Best Village in the World")
  • 1993: Aatami ja Eeva ("Adam and Eve")
  • 1994: Volomari Volotisen ensimmäinen vaimo ynnä muuta vanhaa tavaraa ("Volomari Volotinen's First Wife and Assorted Other Old Items")
  • 1995: Rovasti Huuskosen petomainen miespalvelija ("Reverend Huuskonen's Beastly Manservant")
  • 1996: Lentävä kirvesmies ("The Flying Carpenter")
  • 1997: Tuomiopäivän aurinko nousee ("Doomsday's Sun Rising")
  • 1998: Hirttämättömien lurjusten yrttitarha ("The Herb Garden of the Unhanged Scoundrels")
  • 1999: Hirnuva maailmanloppu ("Neighing End of the World")
  • 2000: Ihmiskunnan loppulaukka ("Mankind's Final Trot")
  • 2001: Kymmenen riivinrautaa ("The Ten Shrews")
  • 2003: Liikemies Liljeroosin ilmalaivat ("Airships of Businessman Liljeroos")
  • 2004: Tohelo suojelusenkeli ("Goofy Guardian Angel")
  • 2005: Suomalainen kärsäkirja ("Finnish Snoutbook")
  • 2006: Kylmät hermot, kuuma veri ("Cold Nerves, Hot Blood")
  • 2007: Rietas rukousmylly ("Lewd Prayermill")
  • 2008: Neitosten karkuretki ("Runaway Trip of the Maidens")
  • 2009: Elävänä omissa hautajaisissa ("Alive at His Own Funeral")

His other books include:

  • 1964: Karhunkaataja Ikä-Alpi ("Ikä-Alpi, Bear Hunter") - first book
  • 1971: Kansallinen vieraskirja, graffiitti eli vessakirjoituksia - toilet graffiti guide
  • 1984: Seitsemän saunahullua suomalaista (tr. Businessman's Guide to the Finnish Sauna, 1984)
  • 1986: Kymmenen tuhatta vuotta (tr. Illustrated Episodes in a 10,000-year Odyssey: A Businessman's Guide to Finnish History, 1986)
  • 1998: Hankien tarinoita (tr. Tales of the Snowfields: Finnish Skiing Through the Ages, 1998)
  • 2002: Yhdeksän unelmaa ("Nine Night's Dreams") - autobiography
  • 2003: Sadan vuoden savotta ("One Hundred Years of Logging") - history of Finnish logging

In English

As of 2009:[26]

  • 1984: Businessman's Guide to the Finnish Sauna (Seitsemän saunahullua suomalaista, 1984)
  • 1986: Illustrated Episodes in a 10,000-year Odyssey: A Businessman's Guide to Finnish History (Kymmenen tuhatta vuotta, 1986)
  • 1998: Tales of the Snowfields: Finnish Skiing Through the Ages (Hankien tarinoita, 1998)


Many books have been adapted into movies (some dubbed into English), including:[28]

  • 1977: Jäniksen vuosi / The Year of the Hare (after the 1975 novel)
  • 1982: Ulvova mylläri / The Howling Miller (after the 1981 novel)
  • 1986: Hirtettyjen kettujen metsä (after the 1983 novel)
  • 1996: Elämä lyhyt, Rytkönen pitkä (after the 1991 novel)
  • 2000: Hurmaava joukkoitsemurha / A Charming Mass Suicide (after the 1990 novel)
  • 2002: Kymmenen riivinrautaa (after the 2001 novel)
  • 2006: Le Lièvre de Vatanen (French for "Vatanen's Hare", after the 1975 novel)

Personal life

In 2008 and 2009, while still living in Espoo, Paasilinna was featured in Finnish tabloids for his incoherent behaviour, including reckless driving.[29][30]

In October 2009, Paasilinna was rushed to a hospital due to a stroke. In April 2010, he was moved to a convalescent home for recovery, and his son named as his treasurer.[31] Paasilinna died on 15 October 2018 in a nursing home in Espoo.[3]


  1. ^ a b Finnish pronunciation: [ˈɑ ˈpɑː.si.ˈlin.nɑ], approximately "AR-toh PAAH-sea-LEAN-nah".
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "Arto Paasilinna 20.4.1942–15.10.2018" (in Finnish). WSOY.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d "Arto Paasilinna". Archived from the original on 2007-10-13.exVirtual Finland, 2007 Archived at Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ a b c WSOY 2009.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Kuusela 2008.
  8. ^ a b c d Petäjä 2006.
  9. ^ a b WSOY 2009: Paasilinna is translated in 27 languages, being Albanian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Ersän, Estonian, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuan, Mokshan, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish.
  10. ^ The Year of the Hare (tr. Herbert Lomas), London: Peter Owens Publishers, 1995, back-cover notes.
  11. ^ a b MFW 2008, Biography.
  12. ^ From fi:Apu (lehti) and its translation at Apu (magazine).
  13. ^ a b c Polojärvi 1999.
  14. ^ Schoolfield, George C. (2001), "Suomalaisia nykykirjailijoita" Archived 2012-05-12 at the Wayback Machine, World Literature Today (via Article Archives, JavaScript required),, 22 June 2001, p. 2.
  15. ^ Edico Oy page about Arto Paasilinna's productions in Finnish Archived April 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Edico Oy page about Arto Paasilinna's productions translated from Finnish to English by
  16. ^ FILI 2008.
  17. ^ it:Arto Paasilinna
  18. ^ a b de:Arto Paasilinna
  19. ^ Available in the Folio paperback series Archived July 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ es:Arto Paasilinna
  22. ^ Arto Paasilinna in Korean at WorldCat.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-12-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ a b Binder 2002.
  25. ^ *For Year of the Hare, from Publishers Weekly: "A man abandons his conventional life and hits the road with a hare in this offbeat picaresque fable." 1996 [2]
    • For The Howling Miller "It is also a fable about the eternal struggle between freedom and repressive authority."[3]
  26. ^ MFW 2008, Translated work.
  27. ^ Translated from the 1991 French translation [4][5] (by Anne Colin du Terrail, from Finnish).
  28. ^ Arto Paasilinna at IMDb
  29. ^ "Arto Paasilinna kolaroi rajusti - ajoi moottoritietä väärään suuntaan". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). WSOY. 2008-07-19. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  30. ^ "Kirjailija Arto Paasilinna sai isot sakot kolaroinnistaan" (in Finnish). Kaleva. 2009-03-13. Archived from the original on 2012-07-23. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  31. ^ "Arto Paasilinnan poika määrää rahoista" (in Finnish). Aamulehti. 2010-04-23. Retrieved 27 April 2010.


External links

Reviews in English of untranslated books

1942 (MCMXLII)

was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1942nd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 942nd year of the 2nd millennium, the 42nd year of the 20th century, and the 3rd year of the 1940s decade.

1942 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1942.

April 20

April 20 is the 110th day of the year (111th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 255 days remaining until the end of the year.

Apu (magazine)

Apu (Finnish for "help") is a Finnish family magazine published in Helsinki, Finland. The magazine is known for its columns, an anecdote column called "Nitrodisko", its crosswords, and the weekly "Missä Jallu luuraa?" (Where is Jallu hiding?).

Elämä lyhyt, Rytkönen pitkä

Elämä lyhyt, Rytkönen pitkä ("Life short, Rytkönen long") is a 1991 Finnish novel by Arto Paasilinna, While farcical throughout, from the title's twist on the original saying onwards, it has a somewhat elegiac mood, with a constant undercurrent of tragedy leavened by humor. A film adaptation of the novel by Ere Kokkonen was released in 1996. The film features many well-known Finnish actors, including Santeri Kinnunen as Seppo Sorjonen and Liisa Roine as a waitress at the Hotel Tammer.

Erno Paasilinna

Erno Paasilinna (14 March 1935 in Petsamo – 30 September 2000 in Tampere) was a Finnish writer and journalist. He received several literary prizes, the most notable being the Finlandia Prize in 1984 for his collection of essays Yksinäisyys ja uhma ("Loneliness and Defiance"). His works have been translated into Estonian, Hungarian, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian and Latvian.

Erno Paasilinna has been titled the "national cynic laureate" and "official state critic" due to his uncompromising views and lack of admiration for his human fellows. His incisive analysis of power and the powerful shook the fundaments of Finnish society, but were widely recognized to be impartial, swiping those ideologically close to his heart as heavily as those whose ideology was diametrically opposed to his own.

The writers Reino, Mauri and Arto Paasilinna are his brothers.

Herbert Lomas (poet)

Herbert Lomas (7 February 1924 – 9 September 2011)

was a British poet and translator. He served in the infantry from 1943 to 1946). He then graduated from University of Liverpool, and taught at the University of Helsinki and Borough Road College.

Lomas was a "prolific translator" from Finnish.

In Finland, Lomas was married to Anna-Liisa Partanen (née Aatila) from 28 July 1956 to 29 May 1968. They had no children together but Lomas was stepfather to Anna-Liisa's four children. Later, Lomas married Mary Marshall Phelps on 29 June 1968; they had one son and one daughter.


Kittilä (Inari Sami: Kittâl, Northern Sami: Gihttel) is a municipality of Finland and a popular holiday resort.

It is located in northern Finland north of the Arctic Circle within the Lapland region. The municipality has a population of 6,354 (31 August 2018) and covers an area of 8,262.97 square kilometres (3,190.35 sq mi) of which 168.71 km2 (65.14 sq mi) is water. The population density is 0.79 inhabitants per square kilometre (2.0/sq mi).

The ski resort Levi is situated in Kittilä on Levi Fell (in Finnish "Levitunturi") (elevation 531 metres (1742 feet)). The resort hosts a slalom event early each season on the Alpine World Cup circuit and offers both downhill and cross-country skiing to the public, as well as snow shoeing, including to the next nearest fell, Kätkätunturi, located west of Levitunturi. Kätkätunturi is 504.6 metres (1,656 ft) high and 7 kilometres (4 mi) long.

On 5 June 2006, it was announced that a Canadian mining corporation Agnico-Eagle Mines will start a new gold mine in Kittilä. Once completed, it will be the biggest gold mine in Europe. Experts say that the deposits hold at least three million ounces of gold, by current market price worth 1.8 billion U.S. dollars. The mine is expected to produce an average of 150,000 ounces of gold annually for at least 13 years.

Kittilä Airport is served by Blue1, Finnair, Norwegian Air, and Finncomm Airlines. Thomson Airways also serves the airport from various UK bases as part of their programme of ski flights, as well as Christmas specials and flights in support of the When You Wish Upon A Star children's foundation. Thomas Cook Airlines also fly to Kittilä Airport from Bristol and Gatwick Airport between November to April every year.

Kittilä is also famous for being the location of the lowest recorded temperature in Finnish history: −51.5 °C (−60.7 °F), measured in January 1999 in Pokka. The "midnight sun" is above the horizon from 29 May to 16 July, and the period with continuous daylight lasts a bit longer, polar night from 14 December to 29 December.


Koillissanomat is a newspaper that is published by Koillissanomat Oy. It is established in 1950 and it is printed in Oulu, Finland.

Establisher was Reino Rinne. He also wrote in to newspaper with pseudonyme Kitkalainen. Writer Arto Paasilinna was editor in chief after Reino in 1964-1965.

Circulation was 6585 in 2012 and it came out 5 times per week and was delivered in Koillismaa area in to municipalities: Posio, Kuusamo and Taivalkoski.

Le Lièvre de Vatanen

Le Lièvre de Vatanen (Vatanen's hare) is a 2006 French, Belgian and Bulgarian film directed by Marc Rivière.

List of Finns

This is a list of notable people from Finland. Finland is a Nordic country located between Sweden, Norway and Russia.


Paasilinna is a Finnish surname meaning "stone-made stronghold" or "stone fortress". Notable people with the surname include:

Arto Paasilinna (born 1942), Finnish writer

Erno Paasilinna (1935–2000), Finnish writer

Reino Paasilinna (born 1939), Finnish politician

Pico Iyer

Siddharth Pico Raghavan Iyer (born 11 February 1957), known as Pico Iyer, is a British-born American essayist and novelist, best known for his travel writing. He is the author of numerous books on crossing cultures including Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk and The Global Soul. An essayist for Time since 1986, he also publishes regularly in Harper's, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, and other publications.


Pitka or Pitkä may refer to:

Pitka, Iran, a village in Mazandaran Province, Iran

Edward G. Pitka Sr. Airport, state-owned public-use airport in Galena, Alaska

Elämä lyhyt, Rytkönen pitkä, 1991 Finnish novel by Arto Paasilinna

EML Admiral Pitka (A230), Beskytteren-class ocean patrol vessel of the Estonian Navy

Johan Pitka (1872–1944), famous Estonian military commander from the Estonian War of Independence until World War II

Pitkä ihana leikki, the first album by Finnish pop/rock singer-songwriter Maija Vilkkumaa

Rita Pitka Blumenstein, the first certified traditional doctor in Alaska

Reino Paasilinna

Reino Paasilinna (born 5 December 1939 in Arctic Ocean) is a Finnish politician and former Member of the European Parliament (MEP). He is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Finland, which is part of the Party of European Socialdemocrats. He was in the European Parliament from 1996 to 2009, and has sat on the Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.

Reino Paasilinna was born on Aunus, a ship on the Arctic Ocean, on the coast of Norway, where the Paasilinna family fled the Winter War. His family is from Petsamo but they moved to Kittilä because the Soviet Union invaded Petsamo during the Winter War.

He is also a substitute for the Committee on Culture and Education, vice-chair of the delegation to the EU–Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, and a substitute for the delegation for relations with the countries of Central America.

The writers Erno, Mauri and Arto Paasilinna are his brothers.

The Howling Miller

The Howling Miller (Finnish: Ulvova mylläri) is a 1981 novel by the Finnish author Arto Paasilinna. The main character of the novel is the howling miller, who sometimes acts strangely but is otherwise a goodhearted hardworking honest man. He sometimes keeps the villagers up all night by howling and getting all the dogs in the village worked up to howl with him. Finally the villagers decide that the miller has to be committed into a mental hospital, where the hero does not have to spend too much time until he escapes with the help of his only sane roommate. The miller takes to the woods near his home but there he is constantly harassed by the chief of the police with his posse.

The book has been translated into several languages. It was adapted into a feature film: a Finnish movie called Ulvova mylläri (1982).

The Year of the Hare (film)

The Year of the Hare (Finnish: Jäniksen vuosi) is a 1977 Finnish drama film directed by Risto Jarva, starring Antti Litja as a man who leaves his office job in Helsinki to live in the wilderness with a hare. The film is based on the 1975 book The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna.

The Year of the Hare (novel)

The Year of the Hare (Finnish: Jäniksen vuosi) is a 1975 novel by Finnish author Arto Paasilinna. It tells the story of Kaarlo Vatanen, a frustrated journalist, who, after nearly killing a hare with his car, decides to live with the hare in the wilderness.

The novel has been translated into 29 languages including English, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, Estonian, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Rumanian, Russian, Swedish, Slovenian, Turkish, and Ukrainian . It is Paasilinna's most widely read work and was included in 1994 in the UNESCO Collection of Representative Works which funded the 1995 English translation by Herbert Lomas. It was adapted twice into feature films: a 1977 Finnish film called The Year of the Hare, and a 2006 French film directed by Marc Rivière called Le Lièvre de Vatanen.

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