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3.60  ·  Rating details ·  1,704 ratings  ·  223 reviews
Nälkä on se kissanpentu jonka Paju-Lauri pisti säkkiin ja hukutti avantoon. Se raapii pienillä kynsillään ja kynsäisyistä tulee vihlova kipu, sitten uusi raapaisu ja taas uusi, kunnes pentu uupuu ja putoaa säkin pohjalle ja painaa siellä raskaana, vetää säkkiä alas, kerää voimansa ja aloittaa uuden myllerryksen.
Hardcover, 141 pages
Published March 2012 by Siltala
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Notoriously taciturn, the Finnish. As if we each had a quota of words, along with instructions to be parsimonious with them so as not to exhaust the supply. A friend's son is spending a year in Helsinki as an Erasmus student: I'm told that a (satirical!) brochure giving somewhat spurious tips to foreigners who want to embrace their new culture completely starts by warning them that it is forbidden to speak to fellow passengers on public transport.

Perhaps the reader of this little novel needs to
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: peirene-press
Aki Ollikainen traces the dramatic Finnish famine, also known as “the great hunger years”, considered the last naturally caused famine in Europe. The particularly cold winter of 1867, after freezing temperatures destroyed the year’s crops and took the lives of thousands of people is at the core of the novel.

A Prologue and Epilogue stand at opposite ends, in the same way that peasants and gentles portray the two axes that constitute the framework of the plot, based on two stories that are quite
MJ Nicholls
Finnish novella set during a 1867 famine that maintains a tone of snow-capped hopelessness without reprieve. Not unlike Andrey Zvyaginstev’s recent Russian epic, Leviathan, this novel is an unrelenting showcase of the blizzards of unfairness that visit the planet’s less fortunate mortals, leaving the reader drenched in gloom and life-loathing.
An exhausting winter read, a woman leaves her dying husband and heads out into the blizzard with her two children somewhere in hellishly cold Finland, heading for St Petersburg. They have to beg and there are more hazards than just the harsh natural elements.

Each day is like a throw of the dice and this beggar family of three are like pawns on a snakes and ladders board, trying to move towards their ultimate goal, one step at a time, where the snakes outnumber the ladders and the destination bec
Much of this novella is about one impoverished Finnish family's experience of starvation - set during the last naturally occurring famine in Europe - but almost all our antecedents would have lived through similar times. Whilst it conveys pain, hallucinations, freezing, the wrong sorts of help or none at all (and being expected to be grateful regardless), public hostility, and just one damn thing after another - making one think more closely about what it's like to live through famines and parti ...more
Paul Fulcher
"The colour is being drained from Juhani’s face. The first to go was red, the colour of blood. Red changed into yellow, then yellow, too, vanished, leaving grey, which is now fading gradually into white."

Beautifully told story of the famine in Finland in the winter of 1867 (, translated beautifully from the original Finnish by the team of Emily and Fleur Jeremiah.

Marja is forced to leave her home, and her starving husband Juhani to his fate, and travel ac
The winter is severe, the famine struck the country, as it seems, especially the remote rural areas, as told in the novel ‘Witte honger’ (original Nälkävuosi; White hunger in English) by the Finnish Aki Ollikainen. We follow a family trying to escape from starvation, with a high ambition to reach St Petersburg (before it was called Leningrad, the story is set in the winter of 1867-1868).
This family not only has to cope with the hunger and the weather, but also with all those people who share the
Cold. Cruel biting cold. And hunger. Deep, debilitating hunger. Ollikaien does an outstanding job showing us what people had to endure and suffer through during Finland's 1867 famine. I wanted to sit by the fireplace with a hot bowl of soup when I finished this book. ...more
Parrish Lantern
The Famine of 1866–1868 was the last famine in Finland and northern Sweden, it was also the last major naturally caused famine in Europe. In Finland the famine became known as "the great hunger years" (suuret nälkävuodet) and it is estimated that about 15% of the entire population died, with this figure rising to 20% in the hardest-hit areas. One of the reasons that this famine hit particularly hard, was that various parts of the country had suffered previous poor harvests, with 1862 being an ex ...more
I bought this book for two reasons:
1. I'm trying to read more translated books this year, and this fit the bill.
2. It was longlisted for the Man Booker International, so surely it couldn't be bad?

Oh, Past Kirsti. How foolish you were.

Look, it wasn't bad, PER SE. It just makes a LOT more sense when you know that it was published as part of a novella series around the theme "chance encounters". The story is predominantly about the Finnish famine of 1866-1868. With her husband on death's door, a
A family is forced to leave their home to find a place where there is at least some food. It is winter in Finland. There is also some weird erotic scenes. It is depressing. Hunger by Knut Hamsun while covering another period in another country is a better book on the subject of hunger.

A haunting story about a mother who flees from home, escaping famine. She leaves her sick husband at home, dying alone. In the middle of winter, she is planning to go on foot from Finland to Sint Petersburg, hoping for a better future for her children. A story about despair and love. A story about how humans lose all traces of humanity when they are struggling to survive.
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
Didn’t get very far into this before the needlessly graphic, poorly written/translated and rather misogynistic sex scenes turned me right off. Some of the other writing was quite nice, though. Bailed early.
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
Really didn't like it, but it wasn't a 1-star book either. I think a lot of the hype is because of the subject, not because of the form or the story. ...more
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finnish-authors
The severe famine that brought havoc and destruction to nineteenth century rural Ireland has been well documented. Less well known is that more than 250,000 people (about 15% of the population) died when Finland experienced a similarly devastating famine in the late 1860s.

This is the background to Aki Ollikainen's short, disquieting novel White Hunger. It's 1867: a year which saw the culmination of a series of poor harvests and a particularly harsh winter. Marja, a peasant farmer’s wife from the
"The Hunger Years", the Finnish Famine of 1866-68 was the last famine in (Western?) Europe that was caused by natural reasons. The book tells about a family that is forced to leave their home in the early winter to go begging and maybe end up in the place where there is at least some food.

There was some weird contrast because at the same time I am reading Anna Karenina and about their life in St. Petersbourg and that book came out less than 10 years after the famine, and in this one the mother
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-mbi, 2016
This is a very short and simply told tale. Most of it is actually rather miserable as it tells the tale of a family during a famine in Finland in 1867. There's rather a lot of death and other suffering: if it were a long book, it would be heavy going and I think quite hard to get through. There's a ray of hope at the end, though.

I can't say I enjoyed this. Some of the writing was very evocative and enough to make me, sitting in a comfortable armchair in a warm room, feel rather cold and hungry.
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
why so much rape tho? i thought this was a book about starving in the cold and i was prepared for that. turns out that nearly half of the book had something to do with women's pubic hair or rape. no thanks. ...more
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
White is the colour of death, like the frost that ‘spreads weed-like through the window frames along the timber joints across the wall.’

Finnish writer Aki Ollikainen’s debut, White Hunger, is the first novella in the Peirene Press Chance Encounter series (their theme for 2015). This bleak yet poetic story is rather remarkable, and it’s my favourite Peirene release in quite some time.

The setting is the Finnish countryside in the winter of 1867. Successive years of crop failures, widespread famine
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books that I have read this yaer.
Natalie Turner
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Aki Ollikainen’s White Hunger is one of the latest editions to Peirene Press, making up one third of their “Chance Encounter” series.

"It’s just that these days everything beautiful seems to wither."

This is a beautiful but particularly brutal story of a family fighting to survive famine in 1860’s Finland. We’re introduced to numerous characters in various walks of life, all attempting to make it through the famine by whatever means possible. The thread linking them all together resides in their b
Andy Weston
This novella shows that Finnish authors can produce fiction other than of a crime variety. The bleak winter is described with such alacrity that the reader may feel the need for a jacket after the opening couple of paragraphs.

The fortunes of a family fleeing the famine of the mid 1800s are plotted against the happenings of the Finnish senate at the time and their plans for an expensive new railway. Scenes of cold and deprivation make one recall Dostoyevsky as the writing is equally harsh and th
White Hunger is set in 1867 Finland and focuses on two families during the country's last natural famine. One family is in a desperate struggle for survival, while the other lives comfortably. That juxtaposition impacted me on an emotional level. The story of the peasant family was so descriptive that I found myself acting as though it were me who was hungry and cold. Eventually, the two story lines converge giving the reader a sense of closure. And then... the epilogue happens. Wow! ...more
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translations
"Teo tries to conjure up one last, dying flame in the woman's gaze, but there is none. The fire has been transferred to the boy; he would not survive long without that borrowed light." Beautifully written but brutal and sad. I was glad it was short, because the book would have felt too heavy if it was longer. I didn't understand the epilogue though after reading it twice. ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
🇫🇮 Happily discovered this through Pereine Press , but then found that it was International Booker Prize nominated, and notes are therefore as usual set out through their reading guides (still a big fan of all of this).

Does this novel make you feel more sympathetic to the plight of refugees? - think this is such a good question!
○ Reminded me it's just about how people are treated in their own country, not just how they are treated on arrival to somewhere else. Seems obvious now I've typed tha
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Much as I love short historical novels, this one didn't work for me. At the centre of this novel is a family of 4. Juhani is left to die on his own on page 31, when his wife decides that she has to start walking towards Saint Petersburg with her kids if she wants to have the slightest chance of surviving the famine which is decimating Finland. Her daughter Mataleena dies, of hunger as well, on page 58. Marjaa herself dies on page 105, after having been raped a couple of times. Her son Juho is re ...more
"A grey carpet covering the firmament. If God is behind it, he is not looking at Finland"
By sally tarbox on 4 January 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
In a short read, the author creates a vivid impression of the terrible Finnish famine of 1867. There are two strands - Marja, a starving peasant woman, fleeing through the snow to St Petersburg and bread; and the well-to-do members of government. As the former abandons her dying husband and travels through the snow with her children, the latter are makin
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
White Hunger takes it place in Finland in 1867. From 1866 to 1867 devastating famine swept through Finland and killed almost 8 percent of the population of Finland. White Hunger, as the title and its' setting says, is about death, the coldness of winter and hunger. Ollikainen describes the hunger incredibly well and there was points when his writing made me gasp. It follows one family from the lower classes, following the tragic year when they try to find food and warmth in the coldness of winte ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A powerful read about a little known tragedy (little known outside of Finland) from 1867. In his debut novella, Mr. Ollikainen captures the devastation of famine on the social fabric by contrasting two families: one, poor farmers; the other, middle-income bureaucrats.

While the setting of Ollikainen's novel could only be in the harshest, coldest climes of the north, his plot of desperation is universal. Famine continues to haunt millions, especially in Sub-Sahara Africa.

"For a moment, she feels
Jonas Pihl
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Hungersnød (White Hunger) takes place during the Finnish famine in 1867-1868. It follows a family of four, a young man named Teo and the senator during the famine.

I think this book could have drawn me in a lot more if it had been longer. If I had more time to connect with the characters, the events would have suited the book much better. As it was, much of it seemed kinda rushed. Maybe that was to show Marja's dizziness and fatigue, but that still didn't really work for me. That said, the story
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Aki Ollikainen (born 1973) is a Finnish writer. A photographer and journalist by profession, Ollikainen received widespread acclaim for his debut novel Nälkävuosi (2012), an account of the Finnish famine of 1866-1868. The book won several prizes and has been translated into English by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah under the title White Hunger (Peirene Press, 2015).
Ollikainen lives in Kolari in

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“من سيخبر الطفل بأنه لا وجود للحرية الحقيقية بالخارج؟ أننا كلما إقتربنا من الحرية ، كلما تمسكنا أكثر بالقيود التي نضعهاعلى أيدينا . نحن نطارد السراب مدفوعين بالقهر . طول القيد يحدد مدى حريتنا ، فقط إذا ما رضينا بنصيبنا . استطعنا أن نعيش بدون أن تضايقنا قيودنا . لكن رغباتنا هي أثقل قيودنا . وعندما نميتها ، لا نعود بحاجة إلى المقاومة” 1 likes
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