How well do you know Finnish literature?
Every year on 10 October, Finns celebrate the day of Finnish literature, named after one of the earliest writers of prose in the language, Aleksis Kivi (b. 1834). During his short life, Kivi wrote 12 plays and one collection of poetry. His most remarkable oeuvre is, however, the novel Seven Brothers (Seitsemän veljestä), which he worked on for 10 years. The book was not well received when published in 1870: it’s a realistic, humorous depiction of ordinary Finns written at a time when artists preferred to portray the rugged, uneducated people in a sublime, national romantic light. Today, the book is considered a masterpiece and Kivi is Finland’s national author. Kivi died alcoholic and forgotten aged just 38 in 1872.
Seven brothers is the story of the trials and tribulations of the Jukola brothers: Juhani, who is the eldest at 25; twins Tuomas and Aapo, Simeoni, the second set of twins Timo and Lauri; and the youngest and cleverest of them all, Eero. After their parents pass away, the brothers, who live in a rural setting in Southern Finland, struggle with fitting in society: they fight with their neighbours, are unlucky in love, and end up in various alcohol-induced accidents. The book has been translated into English twice; the most recent version is from 1991. The quotations in the quiz are from the 1929 version.
The following quiz describes some of the events in the book. Can you guess the correct answer to each question?