Review: The Grump’s Finland by Tuomas Kyrö

“Namely when you don’t wash the porridge plate, the substance solidifies. It becomes world’s hardest matter that should be sold to NASA in the United States. Nothing would penetrate it, nothing would stick to it and in the end one could eat bits and pieces from the rocket.”
~Tuomas Kyrö, Mielensäpahoittajan Suomi

Plot summary

“Hundred stories of independent Finland, hundred stories from the Grump. The Finnish nation took a leap from the swamp to the sushi bar in a second and it does not matter that the other foot is still in the swamp. From the perspective of the Grump, we witness an agrarian and mobile phone centered Finland, male and female dominated, at least moderately. Finland where in the early phase of national birth, the Jäger infantrymen went cross-country skiing to Germany and in the contemporary period refugees walked over to Finland.

The Grump appreciated both forms of resilience. In this ordinary great story, Tuomas Kyrö lets the reader get a first peak into Grump’s childhood and youth. How did a boy who was born in the same sauna where his father died became the Grump? How did the Grump meet the Missus? Why does he not like Kekkonen? Why did he stay in the countryside when everyone else left in the 1970’s? More on Goodreads

On Tuomas Kyrö

“Tuomas Kyrö (born in 1974) is a Finnish author and comic book illustrator.” More on Wikipedia

Finnish countryside. Photo: EsaRiutta / Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons
Finnish countryside. Photo: EsaRiutta / Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons
Key concepts
  • 100 years of independence
  • Outward silence vs. inner turmoil
  • Warm stubborness
Review

2017 will remain as one important milestone for the Finnish population. It was the 100th anniversary year of Finland, with many celebrations and events taking place.

In mid December, I took a train ride from Helsinki to Tampere, it’s about 1 h 30 mins in train terms. So not a long way to go. I was listening to Tuomas Kyrö‘s The Grump’s Finland, a hilarious tale on the last 100 years of Finland and Grump’s family saga.

The Grump is a cranky old man from Häme who lives in the countryside, in a fictional place entitled Sysi-Suomi. Basically the story is interlinking those things he complains about with the milestones in Finnish history throughout the past 100 years.

The stubborn and grumpy character does the complaining in a humorous and at times sarcastic way, and there is a hint of warmth in his character. He is by no means bitter, it’s just that he thinks that the less fuss people make about something the better. And why change things if they are working perfectly fine.

My absolute favorite parts where those where he explains and comments on the Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 and on the political youth organizations in the 1960’s and 1970’s during the Finlandization period, a Cold War phenomena. Basically The Grump slaps everyone important or who thinks is important in the face.

In a sense, he is satisfied on his own land and only there. The relationship with the Missus is a very interesting one, also the relationship the Grump has with his two sons. Almost the only person whom he lets to change him is his grand-daughter – called Likka throughout the story.

The Grump is a practical man, but his ways are antiquated.

The Grump is a stubborn but lovable 80-year-old man. He’s fiercely set in his ways – a grumpy Grump who thinks everything in the old days was better. The world changes; the Grump doesn’t. He has strong opinions about fixing the wrongs he sees or making things better where he thinks they need improvement. Everyone has a Grump in the family – you might recognize him in your grandparents, or even in yourself. Audiences of all ages have embraced him, from the Grump’s own generation to ironic twenty-somethings.” ~WSOY on Meet the Grump by Tuomas Kyrö

Enjoy if you get a copy on the Grump, it’s definitively worth the read!

On this note, I wish everyone Happy Holidays and all the best for 2018!

Eero Järnefelt (1863-1937): Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood). Photo: Finnish National Gallery, Public domain
Eero Järnefelt (1863-1937): Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood). Photo: Finnish National Gallery, Public domain
Other novels and works by Kyrö
  • Nahkatakki (Leather Jacket, 2001)
  • Tilkka (2003)
  • Liitto (Union, 2005)
  • Benjamin Kivi (Benjamin’s Stone, 2007)
  • Taide ja tolkku (Art and Reason, 2008)
  • 700 grammaa (700 Grams, 2009)
  • Mielensäpahoittaja (The Grump, 2010)
  • Kerjäläinen ja jänis (The Beggar and the Hare, 2011)
  • Pukin paha päivä (A Bad Day for Santa, 2011), together with Antti Kyrö
  • Urheilukirja (A Sports Book, 2011)
  • Miniä (Daughter-in-Law, 2012)
  • Mielensäpahoittaja ja ruskeakastike (The Grump and the Brown Sauce, 2012)
  • Pukki laivalla (Santa on the boat, 2012), together with Antti Kyrö
  • Kunkku (The King, 2013)
  • Ilosia aikoja, mielensäpahoittaja (Happy Times, Grump, 2014)
  • Mielensäpahoittajan hiihtokirja (The Grump’s Skiing Book, 2016)
  • Mielensäpahoittajan olympiamatka (The Grump’s Olympic Trip, 2017)

“The basic human mistake is this. One always wants that tomorrow would be better than yesterday. If one lives a miserable and poor childhood, of course one desires a lot of cotton candy and local radio stations for one’s own child. But what if the child becomes a chubby kid who has no understanding for accordion music. The chubby’s possibilities are instantly weakened. There is diabetes, saltebes and sweetenerbetes.”
~Tuomas Kyrö, Mielensäpahoittajan Suomi

Translated from original quotes freely by fictivestina
Cover photo: 12019 / Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons

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Author: fictivestina

Hey, I'm a native Helsinkian but a cosmopolitan at heart :) Outdoors, reading, writing and cultural attractions are my passion. Hiking in Lapland cannot be competed with!

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