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Magický průvodce městem pod pahorkem

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  875 ratings  ·  168 reviews
Toto je bez nadsázky kniha, jaká tu nikdy nebyla. Autor bestselleru Literární spolek Laury Sněžné přichází opět s návykovým koktejlem magického realismu, detektivky, hororu a fantasy, ale tentokrát jde ještě dál a nabízí čtenáři příběh, který s ním bude žít ještě dlouho po otočení poslední strany. Šéfredaktor Olli Suominen vede středně velké nakladatelství, zaměřeného na k ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published March 28th 2017 by Paseka (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.49  · 
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My reading point-of-no-return is fairly short; just a handful of pages, a chapter or two at most. So it's a rare occasion that I don't finish a book, particularly when I've invested so much time in it already. But this one is just not for me, and the idea of continuing makes my shoulders slump.

The premise sounded good, and the location unfamiliar enough to pique my curiosity, so at first I was happy to read along and see where it went. But I got sick of the umbrellas, I was confused about whethe
Liz Barnsley
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh I LOVED this. Such a welcome change, a beautifully written, atmospheric love story with a twist that genuinely captured my heart, especially it’s main protagonist Olli – who I engaged with entirely the moment he lost his first umbrella. I ALWAYS lose my umbrella’s..

It is kind of an ode to modern living told in a very old school way – a kind of loss of innocence, coming of age when you are an adult themed story with some incredibly wonderful characters and a really great story – I was hooked t
Katie Lumsden
I don't know quite what I thought of this - it's a meandering, strange novel, where dreams and memories and reality overlap and are muddled together. While I loved some of the scenes in the middle, it took a while to get going, and the ending was a bit too ambiguous and confused for my liking. An interesting read, but I didn't love it as much as the Rabbit Back Literature Society. ...more
Abigail  F
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book and immediately said aloud, "Wow. What did I just read?" I can honestly say I've never read anything quite like this book, and I love Jääskeläinen's The Rabbit Back Literature Society. I've read that one twice, and marked it up, and recommend it to everyone I know. I'm not sure I love Secret Passages in a Hillside Town, but parts of it were very beautiful and thought-provoking. The first 100 or so pages were written so humorously. I laughed out loud at Jääskeläinen's humor. ...more
May 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Olli Suominen, resident of Jyväskylä, has a wife and son, a job as a book publisher, new found pastimes such as movie clubs and old habits like losing umbrellas. When he is reunited with his childhood love he begins to explore and rediscover his town following the descriptions and guidelines of the magical city guide she is writing. At the same time, he begins to re-evaluate himself, his life, and to delve into memories long forgotten.

If the reader expects to engage in a romantic story of growi
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A few years back I had read Jääskeläinen’s The Rabbit Back Literature Society. That novel had been compared to “Twin Peaks meeting the Brothers Grimm” and was a dark and cryptic work which hovered rather awkwardly between outright supernatural fiction and magical realism. I had found this ‘ambivalence’ ultimately disappointing, but the novel was intriguing enough to make me want to sample the author’s latest offering, recently translated into English by Lola Rogers.

In its initial chapters, this

Visit The locations in the novel - Finland

I like this but it’s quite an odd and quirky read. Olli works in publishing and he along with Greta, an old flame, is about to publish some cinematic guides to the local area and cities around the world. What cities have that cinematic quality and what exactly does that entail? Well there’s lots of snippets from the guides to help you explore the sights for real.

That is setting number one but setting number two is quite different and a lot darker. It’s
Julie Parks
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Thank you Netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
I first wanted to read this book because of the colorful cover.
Then I read the first sentence:

Publisher Olli Suominen spent the rainy days if autumn buying umbrellas and forgetting them all around Jyvaskyla. He also accidentally joined a film club.

and was ready to plunge in as soon as possible.

I liked it a lot, even though it's not my usual kind of book.

Spending time between the pages of this story was like living through
Charlotte Burt
This book got stranger and stranger as it progressed. Interesting read though
The is a very strange book and a difficult one to review. The narrative is almost split into thirds. The first seems fairly normal and enjoyable exploration of life in a Finnish city. It is very much grounded in the place and time. Olli loses umbrellas, joins a film club and discovers that his old flame, Greta is the writer of a book that has become a Finnish sensation.

A Guide to the Cinematic Life is a book which encou
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I chose this for shallow reasons - the author’s name had lots of umlauts (three), the book had a nice cover (acqua, white and gold) and it was a new acquisition to my local library (it’s status announced by a slightly cheesy ‘we haven’t met before’ bookmark popped into the book by staff). Although the setting is a bland Finnish town, everything is deliberately off-beam - a bit like the home of the main character, Olli, where the floor and walls slope almost imperceptibly. It had moments I enjoye ...more
A. S.
DNF at 25%
Kristīne Līcis
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
I was hopelessly in love with the book by the time I finished the first two sentences. "Publisher Olli Suominen spent the rainy days of autumn buying umbrellas and forgetting them all around Jyväskylä. He also accidentally joined a film club." And then it got better.

At first, the story mostly relies on the sarcastically comical effect of exaggeratedly straightforward sentences describing excessively mundane life of the main hero, like here: "Sometimes there was the occasional street musician alo
Brigitte Ruel
I was hoping for a bit more fun a-la-Rabbit-Back, but this story left me feeling depressed. It was hard to get past the tired 'man bored of his family' story line and also the whole 'male mid-life crisis' thing. When I finally got over that the book got pretty disturbing and I didn't sleep great after certain chapters. What I LOVED about the book though was the book within a book - 'A Guide to a Cinematic Life.' The concepts are all all so fascinating and thought-provoking that it really made th ...more
Linda Robinson
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Publisher and parish councilman Olli Suominen, grandson of notary Suominen, father of the boy, and childhood tunnel wanderer who once loved a girl in a pear print dress, accidentally joined a film club. Wes Anderson needs to direct the movie. I want to follow the map of lost umbrellas and the Noises Off set design of the characters in Jyväskylä in the present and the Tourula Five in the past; the metastory of Greta Kara's cinematic guide to life, while publisher and parish councilman Suominen dr ...more
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was a point where I found myself wondering why I was still reading this book but luckily I stuck with it. The story got better about a third of the way in and then I was fully sucked into the narrative.

Overall this was a crazy read. Yes the twist was painfully obvious but the story was intriguing. A bit dated now though because Facebook is no longer a new thing.

I do wonder if some of the narrative was lost in translation. Since I can't read Finnish I will never know.
Rick Rapp
May 29, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is garbage. It's filled with grand allusions to cinema and some psycho-babble, but it's garbage. I kept at it, trying to give it a chance and have it all make some sense. But it is loaded with implausible situations, selfish and yet self-destructive characters, and worst of all a certain smugness about how "clever" it's supposed to be. The main character is a poor and not amusing rip off of Walter Mitty, floating in and out of dream sequences and misplacing umbrellas. (That's the "runn ...more
It's a dark story, confusing in parts and a weak ending. Beautifully written, it takes an old theme of adolescent adventures viewed retrospectively and through the prism of movies. It's not the most uplifting of books. ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
I would like to thank NetGalley and Pushkin Press for allowing me early access to this novel in exchange for a review. All thoughts expressed here are my own.

I couldn't seem to find my groove with this book. Judging by how much other reviewers have enjoyed this book, I'm thinking maybe it was me. Perhaps this just wasn't the right time for me to read this particular novel. I also feel like something might have been lost in translation as well. Secret Passages in a Hillside Town might be better e
Laura Jones
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have never read anything like this and can’t begin to put it into words, except to say ‘brilliantly batshit’.
Clara Nyx
Visit my blog where I do book reviews:

A free copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Pushkin Press, in excange for an honest review. All opinions stated in this review are my own. 

In a small hillside town, Olli Suominen – publisher and discontented husband – is constantly losing umbrellas. He has also joined a film club. And Greta, an old flame, has added him on Facebook.

As his life becomes more and more entangled with Greta’s, and his wife and son are dragge
Dec 18, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before an offhand mention by a person I only just met to another person, I had never heard of Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen. Neither had a few second hand store owners I visited in my curiosity or most of my friends. Perhaps, this was what intrigued me enough to buy his book when I saw in on sale but mostly it must have been cusiosity at reading a new Finnish magical realist or a "realist-fantasy writer" as he himself defines his authorship.

I had no sense of what I was stumbling into but then again n
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is seriously one hell of a "What did I just read?". Magic realism, major mind-fuck, confusing and beautiful, overwhelmingly unrealistic and unexpected. For roughly the first half of the book, you think you know what you're reading. And then suddenly the weird gets exponentially weirder until reaching a level that makes you wonder why on earth the story was written the way it was (in good and in bad).

It carries symbols and metaphors as many as you'd like to find. It has multiple motifs that
Jackie Law
Secret Passages In A Hillside Town, by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (translated by Lola M. Rogers), is a quirky tale of a middle aged man whose past comes back to haunt him. Its protagonist is Olli Suominen, a husband, father, parish counciller and head of a small book publishing business based in Jyväskylä, Finland. Olli considers his home town to be a monument to dull ordinariness. His marriage has grown stale and he barely knows his young son.

Olli has recently joined a film club and Facebook. A g
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the weirdest book I read this year, maybe ever.

Olli Suominen, middle-aged publisher, member of the parish council, husband to Aino and father to a sun, is living a rather uneventful life in Jyväskylä until one day his old flame from 30 years ago bursts into his life. The more their lifes get tangeled, the more of Ollis lifes is at risk and he has to face old demons he long thought he forgot.

(This is normally the part of the review where I point out what I liked and didn't liked,
I loved Rabbit Back Literature Society from this author, and found some of the otherworldliness felt very appropriate to what I’ve come to know about Finland and the folklore, but here, the few unanswered questions left in the first seem to multiply and spawn anew, as this book is ultimately (I think) about faces presented to the world in different situations – and the secrets those faces may hide, for whatever reasons. Short chapters, many references to ‘cinematic’ selves, ie: the faces we pres ...more
Katherine Sparkle
Aug 09, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, netgalley
I received Secret Passages in a Hillside Town from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

There were many points at which I wanted to set this book down for good. At first I thought it might be the translation that was lacking, but I'm fairly sure it's just a very odd novel. Part narrative, part dream sequence, and part guidebook, Secret Passages in a Hillside Town is certainly a journey. I couldn't wrap my mind around what was happening for much of the work, which I believe to be the intent
Zachary Houle
I’m a fan of the work of Haruki Murakami for many reasons — though his work can be both hot and cold — but one of them is that he can take the ordinary and make it seem entirely magical. For instance, he can have a conversation between two people about something as banal as ears and have it be elevated into the profound. Well, Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen is a writer from Finland whose work, in this case Secret Passages in a Hillside Town, strives to be another Murakami, but fails miserably at doing ...more
Suzey Ingold
That I even finished this book is a miracle but I kept wondering if at some point it might start to make sense again. The first third of this book, while a little slow-moving, I enjoyed. The first third is what you think the book is going to be about from the blurb. In particular, I loved the early descriptions of Olli's childhood summers with his group of friends – especially as a half-Finn who's always spent summers in Finland, I can picture that kind of environment in my head very well and it ...more
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A publisher in a Finnish city keeps losing umbrellas... buying new ones... joins a film club online... reunites with a long-lost love on Facebook and subsequently, in person... his wife and son mysteriously disappear one day, apparently abducted... setting in motion a chain of events and a plan he must execute to the letter to get them back.

When I finished this book, my initial thoughts were: "Okay... what in hell did I just read?" This book was a wildly curious and bizarre ride... but I REALLY
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Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen is Finland’s best kept literary secret…

In the early 70’s, when he was five, Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen lived in a block of flats by the Jyväskylä’s (a city in Central Finland) old cemetery and believed in vampires.

In the early 80’s he still had vampire dreams and fell in love with Jeanne Moreau in Truffaut’s Jules et Jim.

Ten years later Pasi wrote his first short stories. He

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