Okay, this is a very nice surprise: my first novel (and my first translated work) The Rabbit Back Literature Society is among the 20 must-read books in 2015, according to The AV Club.
The Finnish version, Lumikko ja yhdeksän muuta, was published in 2006, so the book itself is kind of water under the bridge to me, but this U.S. version of it means a lot to me and it’s very heartwarming to see that this little quirky story of mine has been noticed abroad – and especially in USA.
So, thank you so much, dear AV Club and especially Caitlin PenzeyMoog!
Hopefully my later works will also be translated and published in USA, there are two other novels waiting so far, and I’m working my ass off with the fourth one.
These other novels are:
The Cinematic Life: a novel (2010).
Souls Walk in the Rain (2013).
about The Cinematic Life – a novel
Paul Auster meets David Lynch… … if you prefer quick descriptions…
Olli Suominen is a children’s book publisher, a member of the local church council, a husband and a father. In every way a respectable, honest and decent guy, a trusted member of society.
Behind this irreproachable facade, Olli is bored, moving through life in stupor day after day. His relationship with his wife, Aino, a school teacher, has faded to routine and his little son, Lauri, feels like a stranger to him.
The change comes when Olli contacts his long-lost childhood sweetheart, Kerttu, on Facebook. Kerttu has become a famous writer and her next book, The Magical City Guide, is due to be published by Olli’s publishing house.
Little by little Olli slips out of his numbing workaday life into a free fall. Dramatic, suppressed childhood memories resurface. Dreaming and wakefulness intermingle. A feeling of bleakness is replaced by powerful passions.
In The Cinematic Life – a novel Jääskeläinen has conjured up a magnetic, ambience-filled experience. The novel’s emotional range extends from melancholy to melodrama and horror; there is also a touch of a Famous Five feeling thrown in – however these Famous Five are not like the ones we’re used to know…
Jääskeläinen has a talent for knocking everyday life out of joint, elevating it to a magical yet credible level.
There is a catch at the end of the book. Two identical-looking versions of The Cinematic Life have been published, each with a different ending. So you can’t know beforehand which one you’re getting. After you’re done, you can read the alternate ending online.
Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen has described The Cinematic Life – a novel as a tribute to films that are larger than life.
Movie buffs will find frequent references to the world of cinema. A film adaptation of Jääskeläinens’s first novel The Rabbit Back Literature Society is in the works.”
Original Title | Harjukaupungin Salakäytävät
Publishing Year | 2010
Pages | 360
And finally, for no reason, a picture of my cat:
15 kommenttia artikkeliin ”The AV Club and The Rabbit Back Literature Society”
You also made my best books of 2015 list. It’s no AV Club but I am trying to get the word out. Fingers crossed that more of your books get translated in English. https://wholelottataradiddle.wordpress.com/2015/12/11/janet-lees-book-guide-2015/
Janet, that’s delightful, thanks!
Is or will there be a Swedish translation? Aren’t all Finnish writers translated into the other language? Just like English and French literature in Canada?
I only just discovered the excellent German translation (”Lauras Verschwinden im Schnee”) by Angela Plöger and read halfway into it, absolutely fascinated!
I recommended the German and English versions to my network of international translators and tried in vain to find a Swedish one.
There is no Swedish translation so far, and unfortunately most of the Finnish books are not translated in Swedish or any other language, although I’m sure all the writers would like that very much. Hopefully there will be a Swedish translation of The Rabbit Back some day, but I assume the publishers in Sweden haven’t shown any interest towards it so far, so I’m pretty sure the Swedish speaking world just have to live without my book for now. TRBLS has already been translated in English (UK and US), Spanish, Italian, German and Czech, and the rights have been bought by publishers in Turkey, French, Galicia, Lithuania, Serbia and South Korea. And there may be one or two other languages, too, I’m not sure if I remember them all. But no Swedish, that much I can say for sure.
I’m sure it’s only a question of time then. You seem to have good agents, as publishers in so many different countries were interested in your work. Have you tried AmazonCrossing? I keep my fingers crossed for you! 🙂
Just to let you know that Rabbit Back Literature Society was my book of 2015 (I’m in the UK) – you beat 4th July Creek from my own reading in 2015, so even better than a top 20 read from me 🙂
Thanks for a great read
Thank you so much, Andy!
Hello dear friends/readers of “The Rabbit Back Literature Society”
Hello dear and wonderful author Mr. Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
I began reading The Rabbit Back Literature Society in 1st January 2016 as a High recommended book. I began reading at the sea shore, entering in the mysteries gradually and interestingly so TRBLS is my first book for 2016. I am reading the English version translated from Finnish by Lola mc. Roger. I am an Albanian reader and new writer, living in Albania country and there is no Albanian translation of the book. I don’t speak Finnish (I wish I could read it in original language). I had to admit that Mr. Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen Is a wonderful writer, composer of storytelling and inspirator for other new writers over the world to study his style.
The characters chosen from the author are purposely writers, so during the book we have to confront always with writing problems, difficulties and exercises. What the author suggests is a useful and interesting techniques for other writers to improve. There are many topics I would like to analyses and discus about the book and I am happy to find this blog where I can share my ideas about TRBLS book.
First topic I want to discuss since the beginning is about the title.
The English version “The Rabbit Back Literature Society” is not what is Finnish version “Lumikko ja Yhdeksan Muuta” (En. “Lumikko” and the other nine).
So we have Lumikko that is not a Rabbit Back, neither a Rabbit, but another wonderful animal. Lumikko or weasel “Mustela nivalis” is the smallest member of the genus Mustela and of the family Mustelidae animals. We have a lots of Lumikko/weasels in Albania and they are so familiar to me. There are different kinds of Lumikko and different colors, we have brown Lumikko and White Lumikko. The play is still in course/ Lumikko – Weasel /Lumikko – White Weasel
We have Laura Lumikko/Laura White, the surname of Laura Lumikko in English version is translated Laura White, and then,
We have Finnish version “Lumikko ja Yhdeksan Muuta” (En. “Lumikko” and the other nine), but: a) Lumikko as Laura Lumikko and other nine/members or b) Lumikko as The Rabbit Back -> Lumikko Literature Society or The Rabbit Back Literature Society
This play seam so pleasant so I tried to learn and translate from comments in Finnish language.
But I need also some help or some other points of views, because I might be right or wrong at some point . Someone could help me please?
Mr. pazi-i-j Please could you help me!?
Thanks a Lot
from M.Sc. Pol Milo / Albania
Pol, thank you for your comment, it’s very flattering and I find it very delighful to hear that my novel has managed to inspire new writers like you! So, you wish to ask something about the book? Please, be my guest and ask, I’ll try to answer…!
Dear friends/readers of “The Rabbit Back Literature Society”
Dear author Mr. Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
First thing I would like say is that I found and reconsidered the “tips to unlock the secrets of the rabbit back literature society” and the names of the original characters as very useful details. I read and reread the whole book and all the parts suggested. I also made some mine underlines of some topics, ideas and imaginations of mine that I like to share and to discus.
These details are part of the journey that the readers make inside TRBLS. We may find traveling between two different types of readers, The Model reader (According to Umberto Eco, the reader who reads it as it is in some sense designed to be read) and the Empirical reader (the actor who makes conjectures about the kind of model reader postulated by the text). In the beginning at Part One, both Model and Empirical Reader walk together in the same direction. They go in same way up to Part Two.
At Part two, just [Right before our eyes, a snowstorm burst…] Empirical and Model Reader break to be divided from each other. [A text can foresee a model reader entitled to try infinite conjectures – ref. Eco, Umberto. “Interpretation and overinterpretation”].
At this point I decided to follow the author as the model reader even I also know that may be floating in the gender of magical realism (that blends realistic elements with magical elements). But the author is such a professional creator and teacher while he gives a lot of ideas for new writers to follow. Since the beginning we may find a good concept of God as invention of someone to watch the people and listen to them all the time. [God-necessity not only postmodern realistic, but also as metaphysical necessity, controversial concept criticized first by David Hume, Immanuel Kant, etc…]
We enter in a society where we all would like to belong. Nine writers and a wonderful teacher as Laura may sound a little Idealistic. But from Empirical reader point, Laura might be the Author itself. If we would like some good advice from Laura/teacher or Author/teacher we may find much statement as the following: “we should never talk about what we’re writing , or our writing might turn into nothing but talk.”
We may find helpful advices coming out when Laura made [homework assignment… to write about anything at all.] [ and to write it again… thing tree more times. When written the fourth version, she let it read to the others…]
These advices came from Laura/Author (these are good examples to follow) [A writer should know how to make observation about two things – 1. meaningless details and 2. Universe]
Or the concept of research in: [Research brings order to the world. It makes things clearer… The universe is a puzzle with billion pieces] /realistic/ [don’t forget the references” –said mr K…]
Hidden Secrets: There are hidden secret in writing.
Question: Where do you get your ideas for your book? Or how can a writer create a wonderful book as Creatureville?
Answer: The secret is that the writer must be part of it, inside the book. (play between realism and magical, secret revealed)
Good advices for new writers to find out (Empirical reader) when Laura made [homework assignment… to write about anything at all.] [ …and to write it again… tree more times. When written the fourth version, she let it read to the others…] etc..
Anyway it has no sense to ask “Where did finished Laura White?(Rhetorical) That’s some kind of trickiest question, instead of it the author made it clear, intelligent and realistic question inside: “What’s the true nature of Laura White( Does she turns into lumikko/weasel, what’s the dimension of her? Animal? Spirit? Woody forest? Space-Time traveler? Quantum mechanics model? Fantasy level?
“What do I need to know about her” [It could just as well have something to do with quantum mechanics. – see Arnie C. Ahlqvis spills] (Space-Time traveler problem?)
In the ending it might not be satisfactory for some Model readers, as the psychological part of it might not satisfy the internal Ego (ex. “I want to know” , “don’t let her go way” etc..).
Traveling through ideas and imaginations, another point of fantasy might be considered that we are living inside the “Creatureville” book, as creatures observed by master Lumikko/weasel and looking the outside world of the humans incomprehensible reality (Magical philosophy).
If it’s said (for fun) that a cat (ex. Ingrit Cat/Katz/ Kissa/Kissala) has seven lives, how many lives does a Lumikko/weasel have? (How many lives has Laura Lumikko? at least two? Or even more?). If we try “The return of Lumikko/weasel” (just like the return of the vamp) instead of “The return of Emperor Rat” , as her final book to fulfill the her return, is then the writing process itself an infinite rebirth of her?
These are some points, ideas and imaginations I got while reading the book and I thought to share it together. I may be late in this, but that’s the book process goes in time.
Thanks a lot
I just finished the book (literally 5 minutes ago!) and hopped on my phone to see what else you have written that is translated into English. Disheartened to learn this is your only work right now 😫 I will wait, check back regularly, because this is by far an amazing story that wormed its way into my psyche, caused me to steal away private moments from my hectic life, to read when I should have been doing other things! Takes a special kind of story to keep me up late at night! Bravo, kudos and most importantly, thank you!
thank you for your message – I’m very happy to hear you liked my book. In 2017, there’s going to be another one in English: http://www.thebookseller.com/news/novel-by-finlands-best-kept-secret-to-pushkin-324700
Thank you for your prompt reply! I’ll look for it next year 🙂
Hi there. I am in the UK and am passionate about books. I was searching the internet today for authors who are new to me and I found you! I immediately ordered a copy of The Rabbit Back Literature Society from Amazon and it will be with me tomorrow. I really can’t wait to read it it sounds amazing!
Hi, Jemma! It’s nice to be found by you, hopefully you’ll like the book!