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Author Arto Paasilinna dies aged 76

The giant of Finnish literature was praised for the 'absurd craziness' in his writing.

Arto Paasilinna Image: Yle

One of Finland’s most successful authors, Arto Paasilinna, has died at the age of 76. He passed away at a care home in Espoo on Monday morning.

Paasilinna wrote 35 novels in his career, with the most famous titled The Year of the Hare (Jäniksen Vuosi in Finnish). His publisher WSOY said that his work was translated into more than forty languages, and he sold some eight million books altogether.

His oldest son Petteri Paasilinna said that he was a writer to the end.

“He still wrote, but only for his own pleasure,” said Paasilinna.

Arto Paasilinna won the Pro Finlandia medal, a Jussi prize for best movie script for the film adaptation of The Year of the Hare, and Italian literary award the Premio Acerbi. His style was loved for its originality and eye for the peculiar.

“The humour and roguishness, the glint in the corner of his eye and that kind of absurd craziness as well as fast-paced storytelling,” remembered Anna-Riikka Carlson of WSOY on Paasilinna’s qualities. “That’s his own special concoction.”