Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Seven dogbrothers

being a doggerel version of The seven brothers, Aleksis Kivi's classic novel from 1870
Mauri Kunnas 2002, English translation 2003

I admit, I am a bad Finn: I have not read Aleksis Kivi’s Seven brothers.

Here is my explanation why:  I lived in Nurmijärvi (Aleksis Kivi’s home community) all through comprehensive school and high school. Every year in October ( The national Aleksis Kivi day is October 10th) we read extracts from Seven Brothers –book. Every single year. The same extracts. So I have never read the entire book, only these extracts. So I know how the brothers went to school, escaped the bulls to a giant rock, were picked on the other village boys and so on.  To my defense I must say that I have seen Aleksis Kivi’s play Nummisuutarit at least twice in Taborinvuori, I remember poems written by Aleksis Kivi (Some of them is part of Seven Brothers). 

This image could be exhibited in a museum.
Back to the book, Aleksis Kivi’s Seven Brothers was written in 1873 and  is one of  the first novels written in Finnish. Runeberg and the others wrote in Swedish. So the book is notable. 

Mauri Kunnas has told the story again and illustrated it very nicely. The book is about seven boys who for one thing do not wish to learn to read. Since we do not have cliff notes in Finland, but this children’s version is a lighter version of the book. 

This is written at the back of the book: 
"Learning simply will not penetrate the thick skulls of the canine Jukola brothers. Should the young dogs live free in the wilds or in the community, adhering to the civilised ways of men? This is the constant wrestling match that occupies the minds of Juhani, Tuomas, Aapo, Simeon, Timo, Lauri, and little Eero. The original novel of The Seven Brothers is the masterpiece by Finlands national writer Aleksis Kivi, a work still entirely topical some 130 years after its first appearance. Mauri Kunnass canine version of this much-loved Finnish classic will delight both children and older readers."

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