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The Howling Miller

The Howling Miller [Kindle Edition]

Arto Paasilinna , Will Hobson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"I think that Paasilinna is one of the best natural Writers in Europe!" Reader, Amazon"

Product Description

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 a 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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 350 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (14 Jun 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.ą r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D3M6SOE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #101,457 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to howl about 29 Feb 2008
By DrewGum
Funnily enough, this book is about a howling miller. The miller in question is Gunnar Huttunen. The time is just after the 2nd World War and the place is northern Finland. Gunnar's mill and wife have been burnt to the ground and so he moves to a new town, buys a new mill.

At first the town's people like Gunnar; he can impersonate animals, tell stories, gets up to wild antics and entertains the children. But when Gunnar sinks into melancholy and starts howling all through the night things change. The villagers start to despise him. They want to get him sent to the lunatic asylum. There is no place for people like Gunnar in their village.

Although it may not sound it, the book is a comedy. It is written in a deadpan style and there are some great scenes. Gunnar falls in love with the local 4H woman. She says come and see him, anytime, so at 4am marches off to the farm where she is lodging and wakes the whole household. The wife of her landlady hides outside the door to hear what Gunnar might say and when Gunnar comes out of the room she gets hit by the door handle and rolls down the stairs. After this, she declares herself paralysed and takes to bed, only getting up when curiousity takes her - and then has to drag herself back to her bed, looking as paralysed as possible.

It is also a compulsive read. It brims with plot, events, happenings and wonderful characters.

It also has a nice cover.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A howling good story 4 Feb 2010
Not sure if it lost something (or gained something?) by being translated from Finnish to French to English, but the story is great. It's one of those books where you ask yourself "what was the story about?" because it mostly revolves around the charachters in one small village. Gentle but the charachters evolve slowly and the tale changes so often that you can't really see where it's going and then, suddenly, you can't put the book down.
The author paints such evocative pictures but leaves a little to the imagination so you would never quite guess how the tale ends.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer brilliance. 1 Sep 2007
By Olly M
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've just finished reading 'The Howling Miller', and have to say it is one of the most stunning books I've ever read. It touched me deeply, and I found, in Huttunen, a character with whom I really identified. Every character, every person in the village, comes across in brilliant technicolour, and there is not one wasted sentence in the whole book. The translation is excellent, in that sometimes translations can be somewhat dry, yet this one is as fresh as the vegetables in the miller's garden. I laughed, I rooted for the main character, and I found myself being taken on an effortless journey by a great writer. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, as it struck me as being perfect in every possible respect.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Howling Miller 9 Oct 2013
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
I picked up this book quite by chance, but the premise sounded intriguing.

Gunnar Huttunen buys a small mill at Suukoski in Northern Finland shortly after the end of the Second World War. He says he is a widower making a fresh start. However, the small community find him very strange; apt to swift mood changes, and a figure of fascination to the youngsters when he howls and imitates animals and other community members. His behaviour over time makes him fewer friends and more enemies, and eventually he finds himself being locked up for insanity. The early part of the book is almost comic; but from here the comic takes a back step and there is a sinister edge to the action as it unfolds. Can Gunnar save himself, and how?

The writing in this book is simplistic, and fresh. The characters are drawn from their actions and unique behaviours - Mrs Siponen who falls down some stairs and takes to her bed declaring herself paralysed so she can take advantage of her laziness, the hospital doctor who has a nervous habit of always polishing his glasses, Doctor Ervinen who regales Gunnar with his tales of hunting but cannot bear Gunnar's reciprocating imitations of wildlife. The characters are all sharply drawn as much by what we are not told as by what we are of their ways of life and habits. We do not need to know their backgrounds for them to become `real' to us. Can Gunnar remain true to his own self, or does he have to conform in order to survive?

This is a great book; funny, sad, poignant, witty, clever; all at once. The writing is fresh and clever. Great stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointing 11 Oct 2011
I was expecting good things from this read as I absolutely loved The Year of the Hare. Unfortunately, while I found The Year of the Hare to be a funny, heartwarming tale about the choices we make in life and where they can lead - found The Howling Miller to be a little flat. The story centres around Gunnar Huttunen, a Finnish miller who moves into a small town. The townspeople find his strange habit of howling a little disconcerting and the tale follows him over a number of months as his relationship with them all breaks down. I found that the characters were under developed and the plot a little flat. The constant persecution of Huttunen is frustrating, as is his rather ridiculous behaviour and explanation for it. In short, I didn't come to identify with any of the characters and therefore didn't really care what happened to them.

If you've never read any Arto Paasilinna, I would urge you to try The Year of the Hare first.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A very funny book
One of the funniest books I've ever read. Not that it's written in a ha-ha style: a lot of it is situation comedy, stylistic and ironic. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Janet Tchamani
4.0 out of 5 stars Finishing in Finnish
I so wanted to finish this Finnish novel I read it virtually in one sitting.

It's often said that recognising one's own madness is a sign of sanity: the miller of the... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Vineyard
5.0 out of 5 stars A howling good read
A very beautiful and earthy story, funny sad and uplifting all rolled into one. Arto's novels never fail to please.
Published 20 months ago by R. A. Jacobs
5.0 out of 5 stars A roaring success
Miller Gunnar Huttunen's short fuse and odd behaviour (including howling and animal mimicry) prompt local Finnish officials to apply sanctions... Read more
Published on 6 Oct 2011 by JoTownhead
3.0 out of 5 stars A parable - but not a classic to be
A stranger buys a run-down mill in a small Finnish town. He refurbishes it and repairs it. Meanwhile, the townspeople notice that he is a little strange. Read more
Published on 26 July 2010 by Federhirn
5.0 out of 5 stars Carole's report.
This book was reviwed on Channel 4 book club recently so I bought it through Amazon.
I thoroughly enjoyed it,couldn't put it down - it was a shame to come to the end. Read more
Published on 1 Jun 2010 by C. Day
4.0 out of 5 stars Finnish magic
This is an interesting book in that it charts the life of a slightly odd character who comes to take over the mill in a country village, but ends up being ostracised for his... Read more
Published on 23 May 2010 by D. J. Chandler
4.0 out of 5 stars fun
Fun - not as good as the Year of the Hare by the same author, nor Rytkonen long, Life Short (which you can get in French and other translations, but not English), both of which are... Read more
Published on 28 Jan 2008 by Dr. F. M. A. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars I Howled with pleasure
Great book! An absurd story that resonates with realism. Huttunen is wonderful and so are the myriad of loveable, despicable and quirky characters around him.
Published on 17 Jan 2008 by Rani
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