Some books hook you right from the first page.
Mies joka kuoli by Antti Tuomainen hooked me before I even opened the book, just because the premise is so unusual.
Here is a translation of the back cover of the Finnish original, so you can see what I mean:
A murderously fun thriller about love, death, betrayal, and, of course, mushrooms.
Jaakko Kaunismaa is a successful 37-year old mushroom entrepreneur who receives surprising and shocking news from his doctor: he is dying. Further tests reveal that he is the victim of long-term poisoning – in other words, somebody is murdering him, slowly but surely.
A story beginning with a man finding out that he is dying doesn’t sound very funny, but, paradox as it sounds, this one definitely is. Dark humor and witty observations about life and death make this a light yet rather philosophical read.
After receiving his diagnosis, Jaakko decides to spend the rest of his days, weeks, or months (not even the doctor knows how long he has) finding out who did this to him. He comes to some surprising conclusions about his life (and life and death in general) and, in many ways, lives much more intensely than he did before. I’m not going to give away any plot details because half the fun is finding out what happened, together with Jaakko, who is a very sympathetic character, by the way.
A novel which makes one think about life and death and how to spend the time one has left seemed like an apt choice for the beginning of a new year… ;-)
I read the novel in Finnish, but I'm happy to see that it has been translated into English!
(The Man Who Died. Translated by David Hackston)
The German translation will be available on
January 24, 2018.
Die letzten Meter bis zum Friedhof
(Übersetzer: Niina Wagner & Jan Costin Wagner)