Mikko-Pekka Heikkinen - Jääräpää

Mikko-Pekka Heikkinen


Johnny Kniga 2014, 301 pages


Normally I wouldn’t pick up a book with the words ‚romantic tragicomedy’ on the cover, but since this one takes place in Muonio in Finnish Lapland, I figured it wouldn’t be your average fare.

Katja is from Helsinki and her husband Asla is a Sami clothing designer in Muonio. Katja has lived in Muonio (200 km north of the Arctic Circle in Lapland) for only nine months and as the newly appointed municipal manager in Muonio, has been given the task of uniting the municipalities of Muonio and Enontekiö into one. Reindeer herders in Enontekiö, chiefly her father-in-law Piera, despise both her heritage and her plans.

Liisá Mimmi, Asla’s mother, who is not only the last policewoman in the area, but also a member of a secret club called the Wife Beaters Revenge Club. Male violence has been a problem in the area ever since a pastor from the south ran off with the local shaman.

South meets north. Man meets woman. (Ah, but let's not forget that the male does not communicate...)

Wonderful characters and the language itself is a riotous romp from beginning to end. Despite the seriousness of the various problems and misunderstandings, the tone and descriptions are witty and comical.


For those who read Finnish, I just have to include this little excerpt where a Swedish-Finnish psychologist from Helsinki is in Muonio and places his order at the local bakery:


“Yksi krruasaant, kiitos.”

“Anteeksi, mie en ihan ymmärtänyt.”

“Ah, taisin lausua huolimattomasti. T-kirjain on äänetön. Siis yksi krruasaan, jos voisit olla niin ystävällinen.”


“No, mikä se on suomeksi. Voisarvi.”

“Jaa, kroisantti! Mikset sie heti sanonu, että sie tahot kroisantin…”

„Käsittääkseni sanoin täydellisesti, vaikka sana päätyy nasaali-ääneeseen. Se on useimmille suomalaisille liian vaikea.“

„Justhinsa. Tässäpä ois mösjöön nasaalisarvi, olkaa niin mahottoman silvuplee.“

„Ah, haha.“


Jääräpää is Mikko-Pekka Heikkinen’s third book. The first two are:


Nuorgamin Alkon tuho ja muutama erätarina(Johnny Kniga, 2010) - short stories

Terveiset Kutturasta (Johnny Kniga, 2012) - novel


And finally, here is a little youtube video about the book!