Arto Paasilinna

Arto Paasilinna’s (1942-2018) earthy depictions of the endless escapades of Finnish men and their irrepressible attitude towards life have claimed a permanent place in the national canon. His elemental language and exuberant optimism have also found international appreciation. He is the world’s best-known contemporary Finnish author, with works translated into over 40 languages.

In Europe, Paasilinna is considered a prominent eco-philosopher, whose works are simultaneously timeless and timely; their themes, dark humour and delvings into the heart of humanity continue to touch new readers around the world.

As an author, Paasilinna is a natural storyteller and blue-blooded humourist, who imbues his picaresque novels with a biting take on contemporary life and satire. At the core of his wild adventures, rife with surprising turns of events, is a philosophical view of people as prisoners of modern mores and conventions.

Paasilinna’s protagonists pig-headedly fight conventionality, mediocrity and the other scourges of modern life. They are driven by a burning desire to return to nature, where human existence would prove easier. Paasilinna finds material for his humour from the most unlikely subjects, such as suicides and unemployment, but always handles them with compassion and understanding.

Almost all Paasilinna novels are founded on a wildly comical notion, implemented throughout his works without a fear of consequences. Paasilinna’s writing can be considered to belong to the genre of magical realism. One of his main themes is freedom – or the illusion thereof. His protagonists have little consideration for social standing, regulations or societal demands, and generally do whatever pops into their heads.

Works by Paasilinna have been adapted for film and stage both in Finland and abroad and have also appeared in graphic novel format.

Around 7.5 million Arto Paasilinna books have been sold worldwide. Publishers in several countries have brought out more than 15 titles to date, with steadily increasing numbers.


Read more about Paasilinna’s most translated titles: Paasilinna Modern Classic Catalogue 2014



Alive at His Own Funeral (Elävänä omissa hautajaisissa), WSOY 2009
The Flight of the Maidens (Neitosten karkuretki), WSOY 2008
The Wanton Prayer Wheel (Rietas rukousmylly), WSOY 2007
Cold Nerves, Hot Blood (Kylmät hermot, kuuma veri), WSOY 2006
The Book of Snouts (Suomalainen kärsäkirja),  WSOY 2005
Clumsy Guardian Angel (Tohelo suojelusenkeli), WSOY 2006
The Airships of Mr Liljeroos (Liikemies Liljeroosin ilmalaivat), WSOY 2003
Ten Shrews (Kymmenen riivinrautaa), WSOY 2001 (Film 2002, Finland)
The Last Lap of the Human Race (Ihmiskunnan loppulaukka), WSOY 2000
The World Ends in a Neigh (Hirnuva maailmanloppu), WSOY 1999
The Herb Garden of Unhanged Scoundrels (Hirttämättömien lurjusten yrttitarha), WSOY 1998
Sunrise on Judgment Day (Tuomiopäivän aurinko nousee) WSOY 1997
The Flying Carpenter (Lentävä kirvesmies), WSOY 1996
The Reverend’s Beastly Valet (Rovasti Huuskosen petomainen miespalvelija), WSOY 1995
Volomari Volotinen’s First Wife and Other Old Junk (Volomari Volotisen ensimmäinen vaimo ja muuta vanhaa tavaraa), WSOY 1994
Adam and Eve (Aatami ja Eeva), WSOY 1993
The Best Village in the World (Maailman paras kylä), WSOY 1992
Life Short, Rytkönen Tall (Elämä lyhyt, Rytkönen pitkä) WSOY 1991 (Film 1996, Finland)
The Charming Mass Suicide (Hurmaava joukkoitsemurha), WSOY 1990 (Film 2000, Finland, International Film rights sold )
God Almighty (Auta armias), WSOY 1989
The Sweet Poison Cook (Suloinen myrkynkeittäjä), WSOY 1988 (tv series Finland 1995, tv film France 2014)
Koikkalainen from Far Away (Koikkalainen kaukaa), WSOY 1987
Saviour Surunen (Vapahtaja Surunen), WSOY 1986
The Surefooted Shipwright (Parasjalkainen laivanvarustaja), WSOY 1985
The Son of the Thunder God (Ukkosenjumalan poika), WSOY 1984
The Forest of Hanged Foxes (Hirtettyjen kettujen metsä), WSOY 1983 (tv film Finland 1986)
The Howling Miller (Ulvova mylläri) WSOY 1981 (film 1982, Finland)
The Golden Climber (Kultainen nousukas), WSOY 1982
Good Heavens! (Herranen aika), WSOY 1980
War Horse (Sotahevonen), WSOY 1979
Finding Granddad (Isoisää etsimässä), WSOY 1977
A Happy Man, W+G 1976 (tv film Finland 1979)
The Year of the Hare (Jäniksen vuosi), W+G and WSOY 1975 (film Finland 1977, France 2006)
Prisoners of Paradise (Paratiisisaaren vangit) W+G 1974
Operation Finlandia (Operaatio Finlandia), W+G 1972

 Graphic Novels:

The Beastly Valet (Karvainen kamaripalvelija, ill. by Hannu Lukkarinen), WSOY 2006
Ronkoteus – The Flying Carpenter (Ronkoteus – Lentävä kirvesmies, ill. by Hannu  Lukkarinen), WSOY 2002

 Selected Works (non-fiction):

Faces of Europe (Euroopan kasvot), travelogue, WSOY 1980
The Bear-Killer (Karhunkaataja Ikä-Alpi), reportage, Tammi 1960
The National Guest Book (Kansallinen vieraskirja), bathroom grafitti, W+G 1971