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Popular Music from Vittula by Mikael Niemi

Popular Music from Vittula (original 2000; edition 2003)

by Mikael Niemi

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,135297,212 (3.76)17
Title:Popular Music from Vittula
Authors:Mikael Niemi
Info:Seven Stories Press, New York (2003), Spiral-bound
Collections:Your library
Tags:Sweden, Tornedalen, Finnish Swedes, small towns, rural life, arctic, pop music

Work details

Popular Music from Vittula by Mikael Niemi (2000)

  1. 00
    The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (hilge)
  2. 00
    Beatlesmanifestet : roman by Einar Már Guðmundsson (Henrik_Madsen)
    Henrik_Madsen: To små fine bøger, der handler om drenge, musik, piger og det at vokse op i udkanten af den vestlige verden. Populærmusik fra Vittula er sjovest og bedst, hvis du vil nøjes med en af dem.
  3. 00
    Beatles by Lars Saabye Christensen (ljessen)
  4. 00
    Kravl by Mads Nygaard (2810michael)
  5. 00
    Sumobrødre by Morten Ramsland (2810michael)

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» See also 17 mentions

English (21)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Difficult to say whether I liked the book or not. There are some magnificient chapters with well-described situations and characters that I really enjoyed reading, and yet I found some parts of the book very weird. According to most reviews, this book was supposed to be funny and touching, but I somehow missed that. ( )
  Mrvica | Mar 25, 2016 |
i really wanted to love this book since I like Scandinavien books, but I could not connect to the characters. The writing style kept me going half why but then I just was not interested anymore. I might look up other books by him, but this story was just not for me. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Jun 26, 2013 |
On the link between madness and literature -
Excerpt from a lecture delivered in the sauna by Dad; he explicates the facts of life for 14 year old Mattie so his son will know how to be a man:
"Then [Dad] started going through a list of all the family idiots. I'd already met some of them: one was in the psychiatric hospital in Gallivare, and another in Pitea. In medical jargon it was called schizophrenia, and it seemed to run in the family. It would appear when you reached the age of eighteen or so, and was due to certain causes. Frustrated love was one, and Dad begged me to be very wary of getting involved with complicated women who were scared of sex. Dad urged me never to be too persistent with the fair sex if they declined to open their legs, but rather to follow his own example and find myself an unabashed peasant girl with a big ass.
"The other cause of lunacy was brooding. Dad strongly advised me never to start thinking too much, but to do as little as possible of it, since thinking was a menace that only got worse the more of it you did. He could recommend hard manual labor as an antidote: shoveling snow, chopping firewood, skiing cross-country, and that kind of thing, because thinking usually affected people when they were lolling about on the sofa or sitting back to rest in some other way. Getting up early was also recommended, especially on weekends and when you had a hangover, because all kinds of nasty thought could worm their way into your mind then.
"It was particularly important not to brood about religion. God and death and the meaning of life were all extremely dangerous topics for a young and vulnerable mind, a dense forest in which you could easily get lost and end up with acute attacks of madness. You could confidently leave that kind of stuff until your old age, because by then you would be hardened and tougher, and wouldn't have much else to do. Confirmation classes should be regarded as a purely theoretical exercise: a few texts and rituals to memorize, but certainly not anything to start worrying about.
"The most dangerous thing of all, and something he wanted to warn me about above all else, the one thing that had consigned whole regiments of unfortunate young people to the twilight world of insanity, was reading books. This objectionable practice had increased among the younger generation, and Dad was more pleased than he could say to note that I had not yet displayed any such tendencies. Lunatic asylums were overflowing with folk who'd been reading too much. Once upon a time they'd been just like you and me, physically strong, straightforward, cheerful, and well balanced. Then they'd started reading. Most often by chance. A bout of flu perhaps, with a few days in bed. An attractive book cover that had aroused some curiosity. And suddenly the bad habit had taken hold. The first book had led to another. Then another, and another, all links in a chain that led straight down into the eternal night of mental illness. It was impossible to stop. It was worse than drugs.
"It might just be possible, if you were very careful, to look at the occasional book that could teach you something, such as encyclopedias or repair manuals. The most dangerous kind of book was fiction - that's where all the brooding was sparked and encouraged. Damnit all! Addictive and risky products like that should only be available in state-regulated monopoly stores, rationed and sold only to those with a license, and mature in age."
Kindle location 2712-2741

In the oral tradition of hyperbolic tall-tales -
Chapter 10 tells the most frightening ghost story of all time.
Chapter 12 tells the darkest, most evil story of all time.
Chapter 13 tells the funniest mentor story of all time.
Each chapter is the self-contained narrative of an event during the journey from innocence to experience.
  Mary_Overton | Mar 13, 2013 |
A funny, odd, interesting novel made up of interlocking short stories about growing up in the far north. Often the stories segue into tall tales (e.g. two rough brothers in a laconic family begin to fight and, after being ordered outdoors, they exchange blows and gradually grow fur and fangs and turn into bears). The author makes gentle fun of the perceived backwardness of the residents of this remote part of Sweden while telling the story of two boys growing up and discovering alcohol, sex, and rock and roll. Funny and touching and more than a little weird.
  bfister | Dec 28, 2012 |
Shameless, touching, dirty. Reminded me of De Helaasheid Der Dingen, but this one was first. ( )
  khink | Aug 16, 2011 |
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It was a freezing cold night in the cramped wooden hut.
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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.… (more)

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