The Howling Miller
10 journalers for this copy...
This tale was bizarre at times and humourous. It also showed how prejuidiced people can be.
Gunnar Huttunen arrives in North Finland after the war and buys a dilapidated mill. Despite being a decent and hard-working Finn, he is also an outsider and an eccentric: prone to mood swings, black depression, high elation, and a general lack of decorum. He puts on performances at the mill for local children at which he specialises in imitating animals and making fun of the village notables. Already prejudiced against him by his jibes, the villagers reserve most ire for the howling which Huttunen indulges in at night, which the local dogs join in delirious chorus. Passionate and outraged by his treatment at the hands of the villagers, it is not long before the accident-prone miller finds that his situation soon spirals out of control...Paasilinna's riotous book revels in a black, rebellious, deadpan humour. It is also a fable about the eternal struggle between freedom and repressive authority.
Participants (please PM me of you wish to join):
1. Jinglefish (UK)
2. erpax (Finland)
3. Releanna (Austria)
4. okyrhoe (Greece)
5. Supertalya (USA)
6. VeganMedusa (New Zealand)
7. dorng (USA) <------ book is here
8. aetm (Ireland)
Have PM'd erpax for an address and will move along as soon as I can. Thanks molekilby for providing me with the opportunity of reading this.
I will today post The Howling Miller to Releanna.
Released 11 yrs ago (7/29/2008 UTC) at
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
I just wanted to test this "Controlled Release" option.
This story is at the same time funny and sad and tells a lot about people's reaction to different minds. A book that makes you think a lot
I really enjoyed reading it. It can now travel on to okyrhoe
I liked how for Huttenen the knowledge found in 'books' is of no use to him: the 4H promotional pamphlets on growing vegetables don't explain the actual process, the scholarly tomes on mental illness fail to identify his particular malaise, the study-by-post business course -despite his best intentions- is utterly wasted on him out there in the wilderness. And ironically, even though he's not much of a Bible reader, JC still 'speaks' to him.
There's always a part of our self that can't/won't accomodate to social conformity, and one readily identifies with anti-heroes like Huttenen. The problem with most stories of this genre is that authors tend to overexaggerate the satire, by making the character suffer to the utmost for his stance against the powers that be. When the worst possible befalls the protagonist, the situations are so extreme or incredible that the reader loses that 'connection' with the anti-hero, and the character is reduced to a pawn in the schematic plot of satirical fiction.
In this tale, The Howling Miller's ordeals are kept within the limits of credibility, the misunderstanding and injustices he encounters are ones we can accept as occuring on a daily basis somewhere if not here. The black humor is indeed funny, yet not so painful to read that we cringe. Huttenen's is a credible personality and our emotional identification with him remains intact to the very end. As I was nearing the last of the book's pages I eagerly wanted to find out whether he would howl his last howl or not....
Sept 18: On its way to Supertalya.
Update 20 October 2008: I just finished this. I am not sure how I feel about it. I felt the story was quite awkward at times and I am curious if it may have been the translation. The relationships were all interesting to read about. I don't know if I would reccomdend this book to anyone.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
On its way to VeganMedusa
Paasilinna was one of my dad's favorite authors. I haven't read any yet as most were just big books (and in Finnish - something that made me more scared than the book size) but I'm looking forward to reading this now (after finishing the one I'm reading now).
I took the book to the Cork meeting and Micrsosquid wanted to read this - after which I think my inlaws (Farsighted here in BC) will enjoy it too.
For Microsquid now, then to my inlaws.
Sending to Farsighted in mail.