the howling miller – arto paasilinna

The Howling Miller

I really enjoyed this book, there’s a simple innocence to it.  I’m not sure whether that is just because of the simpler time and place that it is set (a small woodside village in Finland just after WWII) or because it has been translated from Finnish, which could mean that the language has been made more simple due to translation.

Whatever the reason, it was perfectly charming even though it was dealing with a quite difficult subject.

An ‘outsider’ moves into the mill in this small village, and starts doing it up.  the villagers are glad that they are now able to make use of the mill, but the miller suffers from bouts of depression which make him act rather unpredictably and often culminate in him howling in the woods.

Some of the villagers think he should be sent to a lunatic asylum, but there are others who are rather won over by his general good nature.

I wasn’t so sure on the ending.  It didn’t finish in the way that I would have liked, but I guess that’s good as it wasn’t predictable.  I honestly couldn’t see the ending coming a mile off.  Part of me wonders whether the author wasn’t quite sure how to finish, as it kind of descended into a folklore feel which wasn’t evident through the rest of the story.


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