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(Cover of The Best Village in the World)

The Best Village in the World

Paasilinna, Arto

Even the most dismal of worldviews can be hilarious in the imaginative hands of Paasilinna, the master of rib-tickling prose. The Best Village in the World really hits the mark with its rich and eloquent portrayal of the Finnish mindset.

Arsonist Asser Toropainen harbours no regrets for the many churches he has burnt. Yet on his deathbed, the old codger softens up enough to invite his grandson Eemeli round – and gives him a mission. Eemeli must not only establish a Dying Church Foundation, he must also build a new church to replace the ones that his grandfather burned.

Using an old wooden church as a model, Eemeli erects a handsome log building in the backwoods of Sotkamo. The new church attracts a diverse host of people, and they soon form a lively, self-subsisting community. Life in the best village in the world is far better than wallowing in the recession outside.

After the turn of the millennium, numerous minor wars break out and lengthy negotiations eventually succeed in uniting them into a Third World War. When measured against this yardstick, Eemeli Toropainen’s rebuilding project seems to be quite a reasonable endeavour.

Although this novel tackles modern times and our future with a highly critical eye, its effervescent humour ensures that the story moves effortlessly forward in classic Paasilinna style.  


Rights sold

French (Denoël, Gallimard, France Loisirs)
Swedish (Brombergs)
German (Lübbe)
Estonian (Varrak)
Italian (Iperborea)
Norwegian (Aschehoug)
Icelandic (Skrudda)






ISBN: 978-951-0-18151-5

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The Best Village in the World