Jörn Donner: Mammuten [The mammoth]
Mammuten. Efterlämnade handlingar
[The mammoth. Leftover business]
Helsinki: Schildts & Söderströms, 2013. 1,128 p., ill.
Mammutti. Jälkeenjääneet tekoset
Helsinki: Otava, 2013. 1,087 p., ill.
Suom. [Translated by] Kari Koski
Born in 1933 to a Swedish-speaking family in Helsinki, Jörn Donner, a prominent figure in Finland and Sweden for decades, has published some sixty books. His novel Far och son (‘Father and son’) won him the Finlandia Prize for Fiction in 1985. He has directed and produced films; as a producer he received an Academy Award for Ingmar Bergman’s film Fanny and Alexander. Donner has served two terms in the Finnish Parliament and one in the European Parliament, and represented or supported five different political parties, from the Moscow-loyal Left to the right-wing National Coalition party. Donner’s life has often been the subject of television programmes and he has never passed up the opportunity for more or less well-considered provocations. When he publishes his autobiography at the age of eighty, expectations are high, but Mammuten does not live up to them. It is a sloppy collage of old newspaper articles and introverted diary entries; what emerges is the picture of a man who is disappointed in almost everything he has achieved in life and who sees most of his human relationships as failures. Strangely enough, of the principles that have guided his restless activity and the goals he has striven for in the longer term, Donner writes almost nothing.
Translated by David McDuff
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