Under the North Star
For the first time since Finland's Mika Waltari achieved best-seller status in the U.S. during the 1950s with historical novels such as Sinuhe the Egyptian, a Finnish novel deserving of international recognition emerges. Väinä Linna's classic, monumental trilogy, Under the North Star (Täällä Pohjantähden alla), appears only now in English, elegantly translated by Richard Impola. Part one of this historical work, which encompasses Finnish history from the 1880s to the 1950s, depicts the turn of the 20th century (1884-1907). It gives a voice to hithertosilent actors on the stage of history as it offers a comprehensive account of the social and economic realities reflected in the hopes, dreams, and experiences of Jussi and Alma Koskela and their children in the rural village of Pentti's Corners in south central Finland.