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Popular Music from Vittula (original 2000; edition 2003)
by Mikael Niemi
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"Mikael Niemi's Popular Music from Vittula welcomes us to the vodka belt of northern Sweden, a place far from anything imagined by Ingmar Bergman or the artist Carl Larsson. Here instead, through the killing cold and dark of the long winters and the harsh brightness of the brief summers, are a people set apart from the rest of Sweden, who speak a Finnish dialect, are silent, stalwart, wary, and very often drunk on "mash, " the gut-rotting, brain-deadening alcohol made from potatoes." "Running through Popular Music from Vittula is the urgent search for language, a voice through which to understand and be understood among the deserted forests and ice floes and frozen fields. Matti's story, in Niemi's inimitable telling, describes a world that seems to have abandoned him, where he is nobody and nothing, and yet where he can still come completely to life."--BOOK JACKET.
(summary from another edition)
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