"A blissfully eccentric, fiction-enhanced memoir. . . . His prose buzzes with wonder, fearlessness and ecstatic ignorance: the sensations of youth. Each chapter is an epic in miniature."-Hugo Lindgren, The New York Times Magazine
"Haunting and glorious . . . Niemi's finest achievement is to have created a world poised between an adult's fantastic memories of childhood and a child's naïve dreams of his future. Graceless sentiments like disillusionment or regret are never allowed to trespass upon Pajala's icy rivers and twilit woods. The future remains a frantic hallucination, while the past is absurd and wondrous."-Nathaniel Rich, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Popular Music from Vittula is a tale of boyhood friendship elastic enough to include numerous digressions, some fantastical, some so precise in their sociological observation . . . that an anthropologist could make good use of them. . . . In British translator Laurie Thompson's hands, Niemi's language is a constant, fresh poetic surprise. . . . Even the alphabet-'a scary army of sticks and half-moons'-comes strangely alive in this marvelous book."-Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times
"A beautiful, poignant, often very funny novel about growing up in a remote area. Niemi writes with real poetry as he strings together the culturally rich vignettes of Matti's experiences, snapshots of childhood that are at the same time intensely personal and universal . . . An exquisitely beautiful novel, artfully translated."-Paula Luedkte, Booklist
Now in paperback, the enchanting, unforgettable Popular Music from Vittula is the single best-selling book in Swedish history.
Poet and novelist Mikael Niemi grew up in Pajala in the northernmost part of Sweden, near the Finnish border. He is the founding owner of Pajala's sole bookstore.
Laurie Thompson has translated some 15 novels from the Swedish....Continua
This novel is would be a Bildungsroman or "education novel" which focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood. The novel is nice, the prose agile and in some cases even funny but I can't share the Observer's opinion. If you like the genre read it only after having read the Green Henry....Continua