Skip to content

The Last Days of Maiju Lassila – A memoir-novel about the White Terror following the Finnish Civil War, by J.I. Vatanen

Who wrote this novel?
J I Vatanen was not a real person; he was a heteronym—a characterized pseudonym—of a strange Finnish author named Algot Untola, who was arrested as a Red agitator at the end of the Finnish Civil War in May, 1918, and summarily sentenced and shot.
This novel is “J I Vatanen’s” “memoir” of the events leading up to that violent death and its tragicomic aftermath.
But who wrote it?
Douglas Robinson, a noted Finnish-English translator and translation scholar, claims that he “pseudotranslated” it—but what does that mean? A pseudotranslation is a hoax translation, one with no original. But if the hoaxer declares the hoax up front, is it still a hoax?

The Last Days of Maiju Lassila is a readable story with its backdrop in a volatile political history from the 1880s to 1919; but it is also an experimental memoir/novel/translation that toys with our “certainty” about reality.

atmosphere press

Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.