Hurmaava joukkoitsemurha, Paasilinna

Couldn’t find an English translation (is there one?), but the title would be something like: Charming mass suicide.

By Arto Paasilinna

The story starts by presenting the first character Onni Rellonen, who after failing a number of businesses decides to commit siucide but at the spot where he means to do it, runs into another guy with the same intention. So they both fail, as they the disturb eachother, and decide to postpone it. After a few beers they realize that there are probably more lost souls like themselves in Finnland (the country where all the characters reside) and that they should gather them all. So they publish an advert in a newspaper to make some sort of a therapeutic group where the people would help each other, but the main goal would still be to commit a mass suicide.

The two men get a lot of replies, they realize they can’t answer all of them and they are also not suitable for writing a reply to all of the people where in one letter they would try to convince everyone not to commit suicide yet and that they should meet first. They need some help with all of it, so they ask a professor Helena Puusaari, who is one of the respondents to their original advert, to help them with replies and also with the organisation of the event where they would all meet.

Among the people who come to the meeting there is a bus driver who also owns a bus, so the lot of them go on a trip first only around Finnland and later they include Norway, Germany, France and Switzerland. They all seem very determined to commit mass suicide but on several occasions and after a funny course of events always decide otherwise. The reader is almost annoyed at how hesitant they are…

It’s funny, hillarious even. To make such a decision or such a terrible event into something funny is a next to impossible thing to do. But, of course, Mr. Paasilinna succeeds – as always.

I will leave the ending for you and decide for yourself whether what they decide and do is right or not.

 

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