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245 pages

The Finnish Book of Snouts

Suomalainen kärsäkirja

A lively and adventurous eco novel about life in contemporary Finland, species extinction, and animal rights activism.

Born in a circus in Kerava, southern Finland, little Emilia is no ordinary elephant: at six-months-old, she already knows how to wave a Finnish flag! But then the EU declares a ban on circus elephants…

Emilia and her owner Lucia decide to cross the border into Russia and join the Great Moscow Circus. In doing so, they embark upon a great adventure. In Siberia, Emilia even learns how to dance the Russian gopak! Once she’s fully grown (we’re talking 3.6 tonnes!) Emilia returns to Finland. The young elephant loves food, so it comes as great news when Lucia befriends Paavo, a local farmer with access to an endless supply of foraged goods.

But there comes a time when every elephant must find its own herd, and eventually Lucia and Paavo take Emilia all the way back to Africa. Their journey is full of surprises: Emilia gets caught up in a fishing net; visits a butcher’s; gets drunk; and even wrecks a bus! Meanwhile, Lucia and Paavo grow ever closer.

Arto Paasilinna (1942-2018) is the most renowned contemporary Finnish author, having published 35 novels and countless other works during his lifetime. In Finland, he has been one of the most popular authors since the 1970s. His most famous books include The Year of the Hare, The Howling Miller, A Charming Mass Suicide and The Forest of Hanged Foxes. Many of Paasilinna’s books have been turned into feature films and plays and adapted to comic books. His books have sold over 8 million copies worldwide, with publishers in several countries buying out more than 15 titles each. Paasilinna’s works have been translated into over 40 languages.


Finnish PDF
French translation

Rights sold

Czech (Hejkal)
French (Denoël)
German (Lübbe)*
Italian (Iperborea)
Korean (SOL)*
Swedish (Brombergs)*
*rights reverted


“The book contains delicious moments. It is made up of good anecdotes and powerful insights.” – Turun Sanomat newspaper