The Winter War by Antti TuuriThe Winter War by Antti Tuuri

The Winter War

byAntti TuuriTranslated byRichard Impola

Paperback | December 3, 2003

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Antti Tuuri's novel, also made into film by Pekka Parikka in 1988, offers a humanly told and historically realistic story about what sometimes is described as Finland's great war. Richard Impola's expert translation does justice to Tuuri's style, reminiscent of Earnest Hemingway.

The best novel about Finland's "heroic war", Antti Tuuri's Talvisota, The Winter War, was published in English by Aspasia Books in December 2003.

Antti Tuuri’s The Winter War is the novelist’s sincere tribute to the Finnish soldiers of the Winter War, the 105-day war following Russia’s invasion of Finland in November of 1939. Events are seen through the eyes of Martti Hakala, now an old man, who had been a rank-and-file soldier of the 23rd Infantry regiment, a unit drawn mainly from the province of Ostrobothnia. Like so many of his countrymen, Matti was called up to defend his country in this national emergency.

The Winter War is based on authentic war diaries, interviews with veterans, and other first-hand sources. It is not, however, a documentary. It depicts the reactions of ordinary men to extraordinary circumstances, and what happens to these men when prolonged exposure to violent death and destruction creates an alternative reality, nightmarish and inescapable.

Richard Impola’s English rendering of the text recreates the terse, succinct “Hemingway” style for which Tuuri is famous. Tuuri’s spare realism is a quiet voice in the thunderous theater of war.

Pekka Parikka’s celebrated film The Winter War (1988) was inspired by Tuuri’s novel. In fact, the first film made about this epic struggle, it was scripted by Antti Tuuri and Pekka Parikka, and produced by Marko Röhr.

Title:The Winter WarFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9.01 × 6.01 × 0.58 inPublished:December 3, 2003Publisher:Aspasia BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:097310533X

ISBN - 13:9780973105339

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent Account of the Russo-Finnish War of 1939 A well written and captivating, but easy to read account of the Winter War by Finnish writer Antti Tuuri. Written in the first person from the point of view of infantryman Martti Hakala, a young husband and father called to serve his country, the story unfolds in the oral tradition of the Finns as Martti tells the reader "We had to be at the school by nine ... I said let's walk, it isn't far to the school. But my brother said no, we don't go off to war from our house on foot. So we hitched up the horse and Jussi went along to drive." The book reveals what the ordinary Finn of the time thought and felt as the nation waited expectantly for the Russians to attack. In an evocative but realistic narrative, Martti informs the reader that "... all autumn long we'd been reading about the negotiation our government was carrying on in Moscow, about the Russian demands for a piece of Finland. They had so little land at home that they needed more. In our opinion the Russians had all the land they needed. We figured that if it came to a crunch, we could maybe give them the one by two meter plot a man needs for a grave." Tuuri's protagonist describes the realities of lying in muddy trenches, crawling across frozen landscapes, and attacking Russian encampments on skiis, all in weather cold enough to freeze a sleeping man's head to the ground, but he also expresses the Finnish soldier's determination to prevent the Russian takeover of his country. The Finns fought alone, abandoned by the Western Allied Powers who provided nothing but weak rhetoric, but the Finns brought the entire Russian advance to a standstill, thus forcing Russia to reconsider its ill-fated invasion, but, lacking resources to pursue a long conflict, the Finns were forced to agree to peace terms that left all the Finns, especially the soldiers, feeling isolated, angry and bitter. A vivid portrayal of the soldier's experiences in those desparate months of 1939-40.
Date published: 2006-04-25

Editorial Reviews

"I have often wondered about the Winter War. After reading the novel, The Winter War by Antti Tuuri, I almost feel as if I had experienced it. Now I know that it is about dogged determination."