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Mikael Niemi

Teoksen Populäärimusiikkia Vittulajänkältä tekijä

13 Works 2,081 Jäsentä 64 arvostelua 2 Favorited

About the Author

Tekijän teokset

Populäärimusiikkia Vittulajänkältä (2000) — Tekijä — 1,335 kappaletta
Nahkakolo (2004) — Tekijä — 216 kappaletta
Mies joka kuoli kuin lohi (2006) — Tekijä — 175 kappaletta
Karhun keitto (2017) — Tekijä — 169 kappaletta
Veden viemää (2012) — Tekijä — 105 kappaletta
Aivot pellolle (2010) — Tekijä — 27 kappaletta
Kirkon piru (1994) — Tekijä — 21 kappaletta
Verenimijät (1997) — Tekijä — 21 kappaletta
2008 1 kappale

Merkitty avainsanalla


Kanoninen nimi
Niemi, Mikael
Virallinen nimi
Niemi, Mikael
Maa (karttaa varten)
Pajala, Sweden
Pajala, Sweden
Tuma, Eelkje (wife)
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Augustpriset (2000)



Early in “To Cook a Bear” (2017), Swedish author Mikael Niemi's amazing novel, one finds a discussion of what makes a person good. Jussi, the outcast boy whom Laestadius, a famous pastor (and true historical figure) has adopted informally as his son, suggests the pastor himself as the model of a good person. The pastor, in turn, points to Jussi. "If you're so quiet that you disappear, how could you be evil?" he says.

This question of what makes a person good or evil becomes a dominant theme in the novel, which is ultimately a murder mystery. Both Jussi and Laestadius are placed in situations where they must do evil deeds for good ends.

The savage killing of the first young woman is blamed on a bear, which is later caught, killed and eaten. The pastor, however, notices evidence the sheriff chooses to ignore, evidence that points to a human attacker. Then another girl is assaulted. When she later dies, the sheriff attributes it to suicide. Again the pastor knows better.

Eventually, after the sheriff finally agrees there must be a human culprit, it is Jussi who is arrested, convicted and sentenced to decapitation. When Laestadius identifies the true murderer, the question becomes whether evil is the only way to fight evil. Who then is good?

Niemi writes a beautiful novel, which even in translation often reads like poetry.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
hardlyhardy | 8 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 14, 2023 |
Lars Levi Laestadius (1800 – 1861) was a Swedish pastor, botanist and author active in the far north of Sweden, and a key figure in the pietist Lutheran revival movement. He was of Sami descent and had a Sami wife. One of the problems which plagued Sami communities at the time was alcoholism, a scourge which Laestadius had experienced first-hand as the son of an often absent and alcoholic father. Indeed, one of the key aspects of Laestadius’ ministry was its emphasis on teetotalism. This and other factors of the revivalist movement placed him in direct confrontation with the establishment.

Laestadius features as an unlikely detective in Mikael Naemi’s historical novel Koka Björn. A runaway success in the author’s native Sweden, the novel is now being published in English as To Cook a Bear, in a masterful translation by Deborah Bragan-Turner.

A milkmaid goes missing in the rural parish where Laestadius ministers to the faithful. All clues point to an attack by a bear, which is captured and killed by the villagers some days later. Laestadius, however, is not convinced. His suspicious are proven correct when attacks on young women resume, despite the bear’s capture. Laestadius uses his keen sense of logic and observation, honed through years of botanical expeditions, as well as his understanding of human nature, to solve the mystery.

It is surprising how, at least in the hands of a good author, the tropes of crime fiction seem never to get old. Sherlock Holmes had his chronicler, Watson, and the concept of a lead investigator and a sidekick is an almost inescapable feature of detective fiction. In Laestadius’ case, the assistant and narrator (at least, for most of the novel) is Jussi, a teenage runaway from the North, to whom the Preacher becomes a mentor. Laestadius is pitted against Sheriff Brahe, who heads the official investigation alongside Constable Michelsson. Unlike Conan Doyle’s Lestrade, however, who is dedicated and determined if no match for Sherlock’s genius, Brahe is both incompetent and sleazy.

There are nods to other well-worn tropes, such as (in one instance) a locked-room mystery of the type which has been puzzling crime readers since the Biblical tale of Bel and the Dragon.

In the crowded market of crime fiction, To Kill a Bear stands out because it has the features of the best historical novels. Rather than being an exotic appendage to the story, the setting becomes one with the reading experience, fuelling the plot, the characters’ motivations and, more importantly, their very thought processes. The real facts of Laestadius’ life are nicely woven into the fiction, and the descriptions – at times a veritable assault on the senses – brilliantly evoke the lives of the villagers with all their challenges and privations. What I liked particularly however is the way in which the novel recreates the mind-set of the era, rather than lazily presenting us with a cast of contemporary characters dressed in fancy historical costume.

There is another intriguing theme running through the novel. Jussi learns to read and write thanks to the pastor’s efforts. As one new to expressing himself in the written word, Jussi frequently digresses into philosophical musings about writing and books, and has conversations with the pastor about the subject. At one stage there is also a quaint meta-fictional passage where the characters discuss the power of books and, self-referentially, whether a time will come when novels “about murder and death… about the effects of wickedness” will become common. The pastor feels that books like these could be dangerous. Jussi begs to disagree. Surely a novel where “you can follow the devil being fought and in the end being wrestled to the ground” could even serve a moral purpose?

As the mood of the novel gets darker and the violence more explicit, one starts wondering whether To Cook a Bear will manage to conclude in a way which fits Jussi’s template of the “righteous crime novel”. I won’t be so mean as to reveal the answer to that.

… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
JosephCamilleri | 8 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 21, 2023 |
Namnet "Vittula" är en förkortning av Vittulajänkkä, den lokala tornedalsfinska beteckningen på området i Pajala där huvudpersonen Matti växer upp. Den bokstavliga översättningen av namnet är "fittmyren".

Det tornedalska har en framskjuten position i boken, både i form av uttryck på meänkieli (eller tornedalsfinska, som språket genomgående kallas i boken) och humoristiska och smått ironiska skildringar av personer som är djupt rotade på orten, laestadianismens inflytande, kommunistiska åsikter, släktfejder, och lokal vidskepelse. Många av händelserna i boken speglar machomentalitet, hårt supande och alkoholism, vilket också skildras som grund till många personliga tragedier i området. Niemi spelar samtidigt på schablonbilder av Norrbotten och Tornedalen i övriga Sverige. En viktig del av handlingen är hur populärmusiken och rock'n'rollen anländer i pojkarnas liv och får en stor roll.… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
CalleFriden | 31 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 21, 2023 |
DNF. p.112. Lost interest.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
pacbox | 8 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 9, 2022 |



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