cover image The Man Who Died

The Man Who Died

Antti Tuomainen, trans. from the Finnish by David Hackston. Orenda (IPG, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-1-910633-84-7

Jaako Kaunismaa, the overweight, friendless, 37-year-old narrator of this offbeat, relentlessly funny crime novel from Tuomainen (The Healer), runs a mushroom-exporting business in Hamina, Finland. One horrible summer day, a doctor tells Jaako, who’s been suffering from nausea and dizziness, that he’s been poisoned and has only weeks to live. He rushes home to tell his wife, Taina, only to spot her and his truck driver, Petri, having sex on the patio. Taina and Petri are too busy to notice Jaako. Though he’s sure Taina is poisoning him, Jaako decides not to confront her but to focus in his remaining time on assorted threats to his company, including three local crooks who are opening a rival mushroom firm. Full of black ironies, this welter of suspicions, revenge, and hilarious physical and verbal combat makes some pungent reflections on life and death. Tuomainen probes the chilliest depths of noir comedy as he explores the question of what to do when loved ones suddenly become the enemy. Agent: Federico Ambrosini, Salomonsson Agency (Sweden). (May)