Veikko Huovinen

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Huovinen in Kuhmo, Finland, in a press event during the photography of the film Havukka-ahon ajattelija.

Veikko Huovinen (May 7, 1927 in Simo, Finland – October 4, 2009 in Sotkamo, Finland) [1] was a Finnish novelist known for his realism, pacifism, sharp intellect, and peculiar humor. He wrote 37 books.

Early life[edit]

When Huovinen was six months old, his family moved to Sotkamo, where he lived until his death. As a child, Huovinen was known as well-mannered, yet he had a reputation for outlandish stories and occasional mischief. He went to high school in Kajaani, but his studies were interrupted in 1944 when he served as a volunteer AA gunner in the Finnish Army. He graduated after the war in 1946, enrolling in the University of Helsinki, from where he graduated with a M.A. in forestry in 1952.

Huovinen worked as a forester from 1953 to 1956, until becoming a full-time author. In 1999, he was awarded an honorary professorship for his services to Finnish literature. He was married and had 3 children.

Literary career[edit]

Huovinen started writing in 1949 when working in a fire watch post in Vuokatti. His first short story collection, Hirri was published in 1950, followed by the novel Havukka-ahon Ajattelija in 1952. Both of these concern the life and its peculiarities in the Kainuu region in Finland, written in a unique style of humor and characterized by their inventive use of language. The main character in Havukka-ahon Ajattelija, Konsta Pylkkänen, has since become ingrained into Finnish modern folklore as the archetype of a rustic, backwoods philosopher.

Huovinen's further works never strayed far from humor, but started to exhibit the author's pacifistic philosophies and later took a turn towards black humor. A good example of such is the trilogy, referred by the author as "Three devilish mustached men"; Veitikka – A. Hitlerin elämä ja teot, Joe-setä and Pietari Suuri hatun polki, concerning Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Peter the Great respectively.

Veitikka prompted some controversy at the time, as it portrays Hitler in a humoristic light. Huovinen countered the claims of impropriety by contending that by laughing at dictators, one strips them of their power to influence people. Veitikka is ostensibly a researched study into the character of Hitler, but the totally outlandish stories quickly betray the book as a work of fiction. The two subsequent books follow the same pattern of telling a ridiculous history of the dictators while letting the author to lament the effects such people have on mankind.

Huovinen's 1980 novel Koirankynnen leikkaaja (translation: Dog Nail Clipper) was adapted into a 2004 film of the same name.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Hirri, novelleja suurista metsistä, WSOY 1950
  • Havukka-ahon ajattelija, WSOY 1952
  • Ihmisten puheet, WSOY 1955
  • Rauhanpiippu, WSOY 1956
  • Hamsterit, WSOY 1957
  • Siintävät vuoret, WSOY 1959
  • Konstan Pylkkerö, WSOY 1961
  • Kylän koirat, WSOY 1962
  • Kuikka, WSOY 1963
  • Talvituristi, WSOY 1965
  • Lemmikkieläin. Fantasia ihmisistäni, WSOY 1966
  • Lyhyet erikoiset, WSOY 1967
  • Pohjoiset erätarinat, WSOY 1967
  • Mikäpä tässä, WSOY 1969
  • Tapion tarhat. Metsäpoliittista tarkastelua, Otava 1969
  • Lampaansyöjät. Suomalainen reippailutarina, WSOY 1970
  • Veitikka – A. Hitlerin elämä ja teot, WSOY 1971
  • Rasvamaksa, WSOY 1973
  • Pylkkäs Konsta mehtäämässä ja muita erätarinoita, Otava 1975
  • Humusavotta. Kirjailijan päiväkirja 1974–75, Otava 1976
  • Kainuun kuvia, kuvat Jorma Komulainen, Helsinki 1976
  • Ronttosaurus, novelleja, Otava 1976
  • Lentsu. Kertomus suomalaisten räkätaudista, Otava 1978
  • Koirankynnen leikkaaja, Otava 1980
  • Suomen saloilla. Kertomuksia ja perimätietoa savotoilta ja uittopurojen varsilta, Helsinki 1981
  • Ympäristöministeri. Ekotarinoita, Otava 1982
  • Puukansan tarina, Otava 1984
  • Seitsemän sinisen takana, Otava 1986
  • Matikanopettaja. Littlejuttuja eri aihelmista, Otava 1986
  • Joe-setä – Aikalaisen kertomuksia Josef Stalinista, WSOY 1988
  • Kasinomies Tom, Otava 1990
  • Kukuskat, WSOY 1993
  • Pietari Suuri hatun polki, WSOY 1995
  • Porsaan paperit, eläinaiheiset erikoiset, WSOY 1999
  • Sinisilmäinen ohjus, WSOY 2003
  • Kolme viiksiniekkaa, mahtimiestrilogia, WSOY 2003
  • Konsta Pylkkänen etsii kortteeria, WSOY 2004
Plays
  • Tiikeri ja leijona, Helsingin Kansallisteatteri 1961
  • Vapaita suhteita. Valitut erikoiset, WSOY 1974
  • Lohkaisuja, Otava 1979
  • Kootut teokset (Collected works) 1–10, WSOY 1984–86
  • Pirunkalan leuat. Ajatuksia sodasta ja loistavista voitoista, WSOY 1991
  • Naiset on kultia, WSOY 1996
  • Viime talvi, WSOY 1998
Memoir
  • Muina miehinä, WSOY 2001

References[edit]