The Forest Of The Hanged Foxes by Arto Paasilinna

(The picture is taken by me and shows the norwegian version)


The book is written by the Finnish author and former journalist Arto Paasilinna. It was published in 1983 in Finland, but did not get published in Norway before 2006. As far as I know, it has not been translated into english yet. The original title is “Hirtettyjen kettujen metsä” and is his 11th published book.

Oiva Juntunen plotted to steal gold together with two associates some years back. They succeed, but the two associates ended up in jail, and Juntunen was left with all the gold. He made a promise to take care of the other two's part of it until they were free. Now, shortly before the associate's time in jail is done, Juntunen decides that he don't want to share it after all and has to find a place to hide from them for a while. On his journey he meets Major Remes who has a break from his job and their meeting lead to a series of interesting events.

I decided to read this book because I have so many customers at the bookstore who buy Paasilinna's books and tell me how funny they are. So I wanted to check out the author and picked a book from him at random. This book.

Personally, I had a little trouble with all the Finnish names at first, but I got used to it quickly enough. The beginning was a little slow for me. This may be because I've heard so much about how funny Paasilinna's books are, so I had pretty high expectations from the beginning, and it wasn't quite there. I decided to try a little bit more, and I got to the part where Juntunen meets Major Remes, and that's when I found out that this was a book worth finishing.

So, despite what I think is a slow start, the book is indeed funny. Paasalinna is very good at making characters and putting them in absurd situations that creates humor. We get to know many characters that are both funny and you care about in a weird way. His descriptions of the landscapes is beautifully. The ending is kind of how you expected it to be, but it got there in a different way than I thought. All over, this is a good book for entertainment and mindless reading, and I liked it. In one way you can describe it as a funny book filled with absurd situations and interesting characters, but if you take it to a deeper level this book is about people in difficult situations finding and freeing themselves.

But, it wasn't spectacular. I don't have an urge to read it again ever, and I don't feel like I have to run to the bookstore to get another one of Paasilinna's books. This is mainly because I prefer books I'll never forget and has more to it than just the tale. This doesn't mean I'll never read something from him again, and it doesn't mean it was a bad book. Just not quite the kind of book I prefer. Also, throughout the book the main characters meet a fox that they have a sort of relation to. It may be because I haven't analyzed it enough yet, but I thought that the fox would have a deeper role in the story than it ended up having. At the moment I don't quite see the point with having the fox there at all. But as I said, I haven't analyzed it, so it may be a point there I just didn't get.

I actually think this book suits men more than women. I think a man could relate more to the main characters and agree more with their opinions. This does not mean women won't like it (I'm a woman and I liked it!). I'm guessing the suitable age is about 20-100 years. Based on the people buying it at the bookstore I work in, I'd say 30-40 years.

It is a good book and it's well written, but it lacks a wow-effect and there are certain things that bothered me because I either didn't get it or it was not a point to it (like the fox)

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