The great novelist Finnish Arto Paasilinna has just died at the age of 76 years. I wasn’t expecting. In fact, I thought more or less immortal : given that we had entitled each year to a new translation of one of his books – he has written a good thirty – one had become accustomed to his / her regular run, such as the return of the season, and we had forgotten that it would stop one day. Inconsolable, I contemplate now the radius that hold his books in my library, and I think that he will be missed. Already, his literature was one of the only reasons to speak to us from Finland, a vast country, poorly known that we always tend to situate themselves in error in Scandinavia. The description grandiose that he gives in his books, with the forests, the wild expanses of Russia threatening (” vodka, I’ve learned to bear it, said one of her characters, but the Russians, ever “), I was more than once wanted to go for a ride, me that however distasteful to travel.

also Read Arto Paasilinna, the author of the “Lièvre de Vatanen” is death

lessons of ecology-familiar to draw out of the novels of Paasilinna

most Importantly, beyond their comic genius, of their burlesque original and of their extraordinary fluidity, the novels of Paasilinna contain, I believe, a vision of the world and even a philosophy embodied in its hero-types, kinds of anarchists proud, fiercely attached to their independence and private property, which is resolutely hostile to the Molochs of the bureaucratic, administrative despotism and the flicages of all kinds. Simultaneously, they are mutually supportive and generous, always ready to bring help to others, provided of course that it does not abuse. They are also hard workers, self-made men restless and industrious, who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals – whether to build, but also destroy it, as the shows the memorable scene of the demolition methodical of a farm by its owner in The Run of the land surveyor (1991), a favorite novel, that has me permanently converted.

also Note, and this is not trivial, as the heroes in Paasilinna are close to nature, a nature with which they live, that they have lovingly, and from which they derive their subsistence : these are eco-friendly to the old, rustic and practical, friends of animals (we do not count the number of animals featured in his novels, the bears of the pasteur Huuskonen the elephant Emilia in his latest novel), as far as possible, of the ecologists in the room that are rife in the big cities and of the fanatical vegans who put our butcher to the bag. At a time when intellectuals around the world speak of the necessary return to the frugality and the sense of limits, there are probably a few lessons of ecology-familiar to draw out of the novels of Paasilinna, who knew life in the great outdoors, as he worked in his youth as a logger, a farm worker and a float of wood.

A philosopher, a wise man

All this to say, therefore, that Paasilinna was more than an excellent comic writer, a status which, moreover, had already been very noble : it should be read seriously, as a philosopher and as a sage. I do not believe that there is a thesis in French on his work (I am even sure, I just checked) ; find a teacher to frame it would not be pie, but I’m convinced that it would be worth it. It is called ” Anarchism and the pacific Arto Paasilinna “, for example, or” The metaphysical Angst and the mechanics of the gag “, report to the pessimism funeral of his novel Little suicide among friends, a very funny novel, where we kill ourselves as a group and in user-friendliness.

A quote back in a loop for years in papers written in France about it ; I have not found the source, but I assumed it to be authentic. Paasilinna, therefore, would have said : “The Finns are not worse than the other, but they are sufficiently bad so that I would have anything to write until the end of my days. “Seen from this angle, no doubt about it : the French, Belgian or citizen of the world, we are all Finnish.

On the same subject, Gaspard Kœnig, free a prisoner-of-Vilppula