Vaino Linna was born in Urjala (Western Finland) on December 20, 1920, and died on April 21, 1992 in Kangasala.
To understand Linna, one must realize that changes in prose were also underway after the WW II, though they moved slowly. Two main lines soon became established in Finnish fiction: a traditional one, based on the old rural realism and the working-class novel, and a more experimental trend, which sought new structural and stylistic forms. The most astringent and repercussive national self-criticism found expression in the novels of Vaino Linna. His epic war novel The Unknown Soldier (1954) gave rise to nationwide controversy and gained an unprecedented success. It is a truthful, unvarnished description of war and the internal relationships of a small military unit, particularly of the relationships between the officers and the rank and file. Its characters and their sayings soon became common national property. It has been said that The Unknown Soldier is the first anti-war novel ever written in this century.
(Kai Laitinen: Literature in Finland-An Outline/Otava/1994)
Under the Nordic Sky
Linna had equal success with his novel Here Under the Nordic Sky (1959-62). The trilogy describes the Civil War of 1917-18 from the point of view of a crofter, farming his leased land. The literary work gives at the same time a broad description about the progress and development of society from the 1880s to the1950s. The background is strongly based on both Russian Tolstoian humanism and historic determinism. The work combines the deep sociological analysis and the personally humorous description of the rural people. Vaino Linna was not academic, but he was approved as a member of the Finnish Academy due to his merits as a novelist.
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