Popular Music from Vittula by Mikael Niemi
A Novel

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Popular Music from Vittula tells the fantastical story of a young boy's unordinary existence, peopled by a visiting African priest, a witch in the heart of the forest, cousins from Missouri, an old Nazi, a beautiful girl with a black Volvo, silent men and tough women, a champion-bicyclist music teacher with a thumb in the middle of his hand—and, not least, on a shiny vinyl disk, the Beatles.
The story unfolds in sweltering wood saunas, amidst chain thrashings and gang warfare, learning to play the guitar in the garage, over a traditional wedding meal, on the way to China, during drinking competitions, while learning secret languages, playing ice hockey surrounded by snow drifts, outsmarting mice, discovering girls, staging a first rock concert, peeing in the snow, skiing under a sparkling midnight sky. In the manner of David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green, Mikael Niemi tells a story of a rural Sweden at once foreign and familiar, as a magical childhood slowly fades with the seasons into adult reality.

About Mikael Niemi

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MIKAEL NIEMI was born in 1959 and grew up in Pajala in the northernmost part of Sweden, near the Finnish border, where he still lives. He is the author of several books of poetry and fiction for both young people and adults.
Published January 4, 2011 by Seven Stories Press. 237 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Popular Music from Vittula

Kirkus Reviews

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One Sunday the villagers flock to church en masse—even the Communists crowd in—to see an African missionary, the first black man ever to set foot in Vittula.

Oct 15 2003 | Read Full Review of Popular Music from Vittula: A...

Star Tribune

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This turns out to be Esperanto, which Niila has learned from listening to the radio in Matti's kitchen.

Dec 06 2003 | Read Full Review of Popular Music from Vittula: A...

Entertainment Weekly

His senses busted open by a Beatles album (and the song ''Ollyu nidis lav''), the young hero of Niemi's earthy story mixes up vignettes of childhood -- a funeral, a wedding, sexual fever, fundamentalist religion -- into a dazzling pop album all his own.

May 21 2004 | Read Full Review of Popular Music from Vittula: A...

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