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The Howling Miller

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,012 ratings  ·  82 reviews
When Gunnar Huttunen turns up in a small village to restore a dilapidated mill, its inhabitants are instinctively wary. He's big. He's a bit odd. And he's a stranger. Everyone loves his brilliant animal impressions but these feelings soon sour when he starts to howl wildly at night.

And once the mean-spirited, small-minded locals realise Gunnar won't conform, they conclude
Paperback, 284 pages
Published 2007 by Canongate Books (first published 1981)
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonPippi Longstocking by Astrid LindgrenThe Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg LarssonThe Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg LarssonHunger by Knut Hamsun
Best Scandinavian and Nordic Literature
155th out of 728 books — 735 voters
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Finnish Fiction
16th out of 393 books — 81 voters

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Community Reviews

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no moomins here!

so this is a book written in finnish, translated into french and then translated from that into american, so who knows what kind of stew i just read. whatever flavor it was, i liked it, but i can't help but wonder how far removed it was from the original. to complicate things further, to me it feels very eastern european, in tone and subject matter - it just feels gombrowicz-y or like a somewhat wackier kundera or kafka. just in bits, though. and i usually ignore translator/tion
Gunner Huttunen è un mugnaio. Non si sa da dove viene, ma si sa che nei lavori manuali è bravo.
Non si sa cosa gli passa per la testa, ma si sa che quando è felice imita gli animali della foresta, e quando è triste e si sente oppresso ulula.

Queste poche caratteristiche sono sufficienti perché il paesino bigotto in cui vive, lo tacci di pazzia.

Adesso per un attimo estraniamoci dalla storia.
Paasilinna è finlandese. Se per caso pensate di trovarvi davanti, un uomo dagli occhi di ghiaccio, dallo st
Много се забавлявах с тази книжка, която се чете за няколко часа. Действието се развива в малко селце някъде във Финландия, малко след края на Втората световна война. Главния герой Гунар пристига във въпросното село, купува мелницата му и заживява там. Само че е малко странен - вие срещу Луната в студените нощи, а кучетата в селото му пригласят, в резултат на което никой не може да спи. Селяните решават да вземат мерки срещу това безобразие и дори успяват да го изкарат луд. След множество действ ...more
Nov 30, 2012 Ema rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ema by: Liviu
This book was pretty amazing, and different. I'm still brooding over the ending. It's not exactly a happy one, but neither it is sad. It has the same small touch of fantasy as the entire novel.
Except for the description of how a mill works, which bored me a little, the rest of the novel is gripping, the kind of story which makes me live inside it, suffering and rejoicing along with the characters.

A mysterious, tall man buys the old mill in a northern Finnish village. His past is unknown and hi
Gunnar Huttunen moves to a village in Northern Finland, an outsider bringing with him a tragic past and a small complex of eccentricities, including an irresistible need to sometimes howl for long periods during the night. Before very long, the village leaders turn against him and do everything they can to forcibly expel the odd man. Against his will, Gunnar is cast in the roll of pariah and takes to the wooded hills surrounding the village, intent on recovering, in time, his honor, his mill wor ...more
Decisamente superiore al ben più famoso "L'anno della Lepre", questo "Il Mugnaio Urlante", storia dolceamara sulle disavventure del povero Gunnar, un misterioso mugnaio arrivato dal sud della Finlandia, e ritenuto non proprio normale dai suoi concittadini. In effetti, tutte le rotelle al suo posto Gunnar non ce le ha, la sua mania di ululare di notte o imitare alla perfezione gli animali, oltre che fare "scherzi" non proprio carini, si attira antipatie e meschinità dai parte dei suoi compaesani, ...more
I've never read a book - or perhaps fable is the more appropriate word - quite like this one. The blurb on the back compares our protagonist, Gunnar Huttunen, to Ignatius Reilly, but the comparison is inapt. Huttunen is an eccentric, to be sure, but is not as malicious in nature as Reilly. Huttunen howls (hence the title) which is surely annoying, but not dangerous. He is a productive member of society, running the mill which had become dilapidated when he bought it. But the main problem seems t ...more
Tyler Jones
With the recent translation of The Howling Miller, the English speaking world at last can read the work of Finland's most important novelist, Arto Paasilinna. Although one other book, The Year of the Hare, had previously been translated, only The Howling Miller is easily available to any North American.

Gunnar Huttunen, ex-Finnish soldier of the recent Second World War, wants nothing more than to establish himself once again as a miller in northern part of the country. Buying a dilapidated old mi
All the books written by Paasilina that I have read are amazing, but this was my first, that's why I consider it a very special one. The whole story is like a strange fairy tale, where characters are almost real but perhaps, too human to be real. Gunnar Huttumen, the miller, is special because he doesn't care about being different and behaving the way he feels, no matter what his "normal" neighbours think. He paints his mill the colour that he wants, he doesn't talk if he doesn't think it is nec ...more
И докато в „Годината на заека“ абсурдът достига кулминацията си на срещата с военните аташета, то в „Мелничарят, който виеше срещу луната“ героят Хутунен официално е обявен за луд и изпратен в лудница. Спонтанен и необуздан в реакциите си, той контрастира на подреденото еснафско общество по необичаен начин. Изважда навън цялата мъка, самота, жажда за свобода и тъга като вие нощем срещу луната. С което предизвиква смут и поредица от необичайни събития за малкото финландско селце.

И така по цели но
Sashko  Liutyj
з перших сторінок читається легко, затягує і проймає.
книжка про те, як система ламає і калічить, про нормальність і самотність.
фінал чудовий.
Jacqueline Wagenstein
„Мелничарят, който виеше срещу Луната“ разказва необикновената, ако не и зловеща история на Гунар Хутунен. Изникнал внезапно в малко селище, за да купи и възстанови рухващата мелница, той изправя на нокти местните жители. После започва да мели зърното на съселяните си, отваря дъскорезница, влюбва се в Санелма, младата съветничка към местния кръжок по зеленчукопроизводство, и духовете сякаш се усмиряват. До момента, в който Гунар не започва да вие срещу Луната нощем. Жителите на селото го обявява ...more
Outra fermosa historia de Paasilinna na que mistura a natureza lapona, a soidade e uns caracteres un puntiño extraños. O transcurrir da historia é o transcurrir da penosa vida de Huttunen.

Moi recomendable certamente.
Very Finnish, very dark - but not without humor & hope
Having looked through some other reviews, I'd have to say that it would appear that this book probably does suffer in translation. Not in its central message, necessarily, but in the nuances of the understory. The emphases that the villagers and (to a lesser extent) the author place on certain aspects Gunnar's behaviour are very strange to a Western eye, I think - the things he does are impulsive but not remotely "crazy", and even taking into account contextual factors (backwards rural setting, ...more
"Poco dopo le guerre, arrivò nel comune un uomo molto alto che disse di chiamarsi Gunnar Huttunen. Contrariamente a quasi tutti i vagabondi venuti dal Sud, non andò a chiedere lavori di spalatura all'Amministrazione delle Acque, ma comprò il vecchio mulino delle Rapide della Foce, sulla riva del Kemijoki. L'operazione fu giudicata folle, dato che il mulino era rimasto inutilizzato fin dagli anni '30 ed era in pessime condizioni."
Gunnar, o Kunnari come viene chiamato, non è un uomo comune: di lui
Jan 31, 2011 Frank rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: ebook
Bello questo romanzo di Paalisinna. Mi era stato consigliato dopo la lettura di “Piccoli suicidi tra amici” e devo dire che è stat un’ottima segnalazione. Sono presenti molti aspetti tipici delle fiabe e delle leggende dei paesi scandinavi, con i cattivi che in realtà dovrebbero essere i buoni e viceversa. Questo libro presenta situazioni diverse legate a paesaggi e contesti differenti tra loro; ciò si riflette in un diverso ritmo di lettura, sembra di ascoltare un brano musicale con diversi cam ...more
The Howling Miller is a Finnish novel, but translated to English through the French version. I wonder how much is lost from the original this way? Never the less – no matter how it is translated, I found this book to be well written and it had me chuckling throughout.

The book is set shortly after the second world war and Gunnar Huttenen has appeared in the small town to open the mill. He is a big hit with the villagers at first until he starts this business of howling in middle of the night for
A stranger buy a run-down mill in a small Finnish town. He refurbishes it and repairs it. Meanwhile, the townspeople notice that he is a little strange. Soon enough, they start to persecute him.

The howling miller is a fairly easy novel to read. The Finnish names do add an element of quirkiness purely on account of being Finnish, but the novel itself, a fable/parable is reasonably interesting. Throughout the book, the hero turns out to be not much more crazy, or perhaps even rather less so, than
Daniela Benedetti
Un libro che non si può dimenticare, questo creato dal finlandese Arto Paasilinna: un’avventura inconsueta contrapposta a una giusta dose di riflessione impegnata sui temi della diversità, dell’amore e della solitudine, della società, delle manie e della malattia mentale.
Un’opera che mi ha coinvolta, sorpresa, amareggiata e che non mi ha ricordato lo stile di altri scrittori di cui ho letto finora; la storia è eccentrica e lo stile è molto diverso da quello che si trova in opere di autori italia
I really enjoyed this book, there’s a simple innocence to it. I’m not sure whether that is just because of the simpler time and place that it is set (a small woodside village in Finland just after WWII) or because it has been translated from Finnish, which could mean that the language has been made more simple due to translation.

Whatever the reason, it was perfectly charming even though it was dealing with a quite difficult subject.

An ‘outsider’ moves into the mill in this small village, and sta
What an enjoyable read!
I liked how for Huttenen the knowledge found in 'books' is of no use to him: the 4H promotional pamphlets on growing vegetables don't explain the actual process, the scholarly tomes on mental illness fail to identify his particular malaise, the study-by-post business course -despite his best intentions- is utterly wasted on him out there in the wilderness. And ironically, even though he's not much of a Bible reader, JC still 'speaks' to him.
There's always a part of our s
A great modern(ish) fable! I wanted to howl a few times with the miller!

From the very beginning, though not related at all plot-wise, I felt like this was Dogville: close-minded villagers alienate, use, and provoke the somewhat ill-adjusted newcomer. They drive him away, far far away, and eventually... Well, don't want to give away the ending, but the poor chap has very little going for him. Interestingly, he is very hardworking, honest, and rather enthusiastic about his mill. He is also a very
Ubik 2.0

Ho visto proprio ieri il bel film “Miracolo a Le Havre” di Aki Kaurismaki [il più noto regista finlandese in attività] e, sebbene l’ambientazione sia totalmente diversa svolgendosi nel porto francese di cui al titolo, vi ho ritrovato sottili affinità con le opere di Arto Paasilinna [il più noto scrittore finlandese in attività].

Il denominatore comune è quel modo di affrontare e descrivere la vita che, ad una trama semplice e ad essere severi un pochino banale, aggiunge il marchio di
I read an enthusiastic review to this book, so I was pretty much influenced; I am vulnerable when the person that's recommending it is someone I trust.

Putting that aside, I'll try to put down a few ideas in a coherent way:
This book shouldn't be taken very seriously. It's a little satirical, as it's mentioned on the 4th cover of my edition. There's a lot of banter here. The church, the mental institutions, the police, the bank, the society-they're all joshed more or less.

The relativity of mental
Gijs Grob
(view spoiler) ...more

I'd recently read "The year of the Hare" by the same author and found it a very disappointing, underdeveloped novel. I didn't hold out much hope for this one, but I was proved wrong. This is a far better read, and the characters are more fully formed. There's still the simplistic writing style, and the female characters are again rather cliched and lacking in depth. However it's a highly enjoyable yarn, and the bi-polar howling miller Gunnar, is an intriguing central character. I had to keep re
Martijn Van Duivenboden
Sep 01, 2013 Martijn Van Duivenboden rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Villagers
Shelves: nordic
Paasilinna weet je iedere keer een glimlach op je gezicht te toveren terwijl je in razend tempo zijn boeken doorwerkt. Met zijn toegankelijke stijl van korte zinnen weet hij met weinig veel te vertellen. Zo ook met zijn schelmenroman De Huilende Molenaar. Dit boek leest weg als een literaire Rambo: First Blood. De hoofdpersoon Huttunen is echter van een heel andere orde als de gespierde einzelgänger Stallone. Huttunen koopt een molen en is vastbesloten om iets moois te beginnen in zijn nieuwe do ...more
Stoyan Petrov
Хубава книга, която те кара да се замислиш докъде може да се разпростре човешката жестокост и защо хората са толкова несправедливи спрямо различните. Паасилина говори не толкова за лудост, колкото за странност у индивида, такава, каквато е присъща на повечето хора. Авторът пише леко, без усилие, а Гунар Хутунен няма как да не ти стане симпатичен и през цялото време ти се иска да престанат да го преследват и просто да го оставят на мира.
Jeannette Hendriksen
Leest lekker weg, enigszins absurdistisch. Een ietwat onaangepaste hoofdpersoon, Huttunen, wordt in een xenofobisch dorp voor gek verklaard. Alles loopt van kwaad tot erger. Een magisch-realistisch einde. Hou je van 'de 100-jarige die uit het raam klom en verdween' dan is dit ook een aanrader. Alex van Warmerdam zou hier een prachtige film uit kunnen maken.
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Arto Tapio Paasilinna is a Finnish writer, being a former journalist turned comic novelist. One of Finland's most successful novelists, he has won a broad readership outside of Finland in a way few other Finnish authors have before. Translated into 27 languages, over seven million copies of his books have been sold worldwide, and he has been claimed as "instrumental in generating the current level ...more
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“You've got to know how to howl to give yourself an escape route.” 10 likes
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