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Popular Music from Vittula by Mikael Niemi
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Popular Music from Vittula

Best Seller
Popular Music from Vittula by Mikael Niemi
Paperback $16.95
Oct 05, 2004 | ISBN 9781583226599

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  • Oct 05, 2004 | ISBN 9781583226599

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  • Jan 04, 2011 | ISBN 9781609802882

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“Niemi’s entrancing debut novel is a coming-of-age story set in Pajala, Sweden, a remote district above the Arctic Circle. It is the early 1960’s, and Matti and his peculiar sidekick, Niila, are fascinated by their exotic corner of the world as by their newest discoveries: girls and rock music.” New York Times Book Review

“Niemi’s finest achievement is to have created a world poised between an adult’s fantastic memories of childhood and a child’s naive dreams of his future.” -Los Angeles Times Book Review

“It’s safe to say that contemporary Finnish fiction is pretty much unknown in North America, but Mikael Niemi’s tale, a runaway bestseller in Scandinavia, should go some way toward changing that…This “playful, rueful, and wondrous” novel with a magic realist touch is also funny and moving.” The Globe and Mail: The Globe 100 (Canada)

“Matti and Niila, transfixed by a Beatles record, decide they must form their own rock band, and their devotion to music and to each other is the theme that dominates the rest of the novel. The boys become men, life expands, and the bittersweet feeling of nostalgia remains once the last page has turned … Through Laurie Thompson’s excellent, lively translation, the English-speaking population can now experience this small corner of the planet called Pajala — and be glad they’ve taken the trip.” World Literature Today

“Matti’s narrative voice is as distinctive and charming as that of Huckleberry Finn. But, as with Mark Twain, the comedy is shadowed with melancholy — even terror that will unsettle the reader sometimes. The book is filled with eccentric. Grotesque, even unsavory characters, but Niemi shows large tolerance, kindly spirit and even clear pleasure in these odd neighbors. They are human, too.”  -Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Popular Music From Vittula
is bound to become a classic of cold-weather literature. Jack London with the imagination of a Borges might have produced a work so wise and witty in weather so unpleasant, but, probably only Mikael Niemi, with his intrepid translator, Laurie Thompson, could have made so much art out of so much ice. It’s like the invention of ice cream.” -Paul Ingram, Priarie Lights Bookstore, in Booksense

“In British translator Laurie Thompson’s hands, Niemi’s language is a constant, fresh poetic surprise … Even the alphabet—’a scary army of sticks and halfmoons’—comes strangely alive in this marvelous book.”
Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times

“An exquisitely beautiful novel, artfully translated.” –Paula Luedkte, Booklist

“A blissfully eccentric, fiction-enhanced memoir … Niemi tells his stories with stoic wit and a dusting of magic realism, as if the extreme climate knocks the senses off kilter. (Or perhaps it’s the vodka.) His prose buzzes with wonder, fearlessness, and ecstatic ignorance: the sensations of youth. Each chapter is an epic in miniature …” –Hugo Lindgren, New York Times Magazine

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