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Der Fluch des Hechts

Juhani Karila │ Maximilian Murmann

Der Fluch des Hechts, Photo: Silke Briel / HKW

Jury’s comment

Comic relief! This book is so incredibly different, original, funny, heartfelt – and at the same time filled to the last line with precise, eccentric descriptions of nature, but also of a nature that is angry with humans. It confronts us not least in the form of manifold nature spirits: Pejoonis, Hattaras, Rabatze, Stripe Legs, often originating from Lapland myths and fairy tales. At the center of the story is the sympathetic but enigmatic Elina Ylijaako, a forestry graduate and skilled angler, who returns to her remote home village to catch a pike in a mysteriously deep, mosquito-filled pond; the very pike accompanied by a curse. The oddball villagers, including Inspector Janatuinen, have a bit of a Fargo vibe about them; Lars von Trier and David Lynch would have enjoyed this cast of Nordic loners as well as the quirky forest and meadow monsters. A wacky book! A declaration of love to the swampy East Lapland homeland of the author, a literary polemic for a landscape acutely threatened by extinction.

– Elisabeth Ruge

Juhani Karila, © Laura Malmivaara

Author: Juhani Karila

Juhani Karila is a Finnish journalist and writer. His first short story collection, Gorilla (2013), was enthusiastically received. Karila’s first novel, Pienen hauen pyydystys (Der Fluch des Hechts), was awarded the Kalevi Jäntti Prize for Young Literature, the Tähtifantasia Prize for Fantastic Literature and the Jarkko Laine Prize.

Maximilian Murmann, © Rena Lorenz

Translator: Maximilian Murmann

Maximilian Murmann studied Finno-Ugric languages, general linguistics and German linguistics and received his PhD with a thesis on emotion descriptors in Finnish. He translates from Finnish and Estonian into German, most recently publishing his translations of the graphic novel Between Two Sounds by Joonas Sildre and Paavo Matsin’s Gogol’s Disco.