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A book to howl about
on 29 February 2008
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.