It was one of the contemporary writers of finland’s best known and most exported in the world. The author of 35 novels translated into almost as many languages, Arto Paasilinna died in Espoo, in his native country, Monday, October 15. He was 76 years old.

It is with The Lièvre de Vatanen, his third novel (Denoël, 1989), novelist, burlesque and tongue-in-cheek was noted in France, there are nearly thirty years old. This Hare – that he had “let down” fourteen years earlier in the forests of birch trees : the book was released in Finland in 1975 – was the liveliness bouncing of his hero, Vatanen, a journalist in Helsinki, and middle-aged ” married, cheated, disappointed, with the beginning of a stomach ulcer, but an unparalleled ability to reinvent itself. One day, a bit like Alice pursuing the white rabbit, the unfortunate Driver had decided to leave behind him wife, work, and civilization to embark on the traces of a hare, wounded, in a symbolic run to the arctic circle. Mocking of the conveniences and of the incomprehension of the other, Vatanen, false candide, took the opportunity to question this very ironically everything around him – politics, information, religion, way of life… –, was looking for an art of cultivating his garden in the silences of the infinite in the far North and found a new impetus in the privacy and comforting of a nature still intact.

Boy of the forest

Was it its content philosophical ? His “humor green” ? His way of joyfully celebrate ancestral values ? Upon its release, this fairy-tale, the precursor to his time, had made fly. In Finland – more than a hundred of thousands of copies sold in a country with only 5 million inhabitants –, but also abroad. By his own admission, Paasilinna, however, never had the vocation of writing. Born on April 20, 1942 in Lapland – and more precisely, in a truck while his family was fleeing the advance of…