Antti Jaatinen (b. 1968) is a writer and architect who lives in Turku. As a young man, Jaatinen planned to be a poultry-farmer, but graduated as an architect at Tampere in 1994 and has worked ever since as a civil servant in local government. Jaatinen’s first novel, Tupajumi (“Death Watch Beetle”, Atena 2009), written while he was on sabbatical, placed second in the Grand Prose Competition run by Atena Publishing and the literary magazine Parnasso. Lumikuningas ja muita kertomuksia (“The Snow King and Other Stories”, Atena 2011) is the author’s second published work.
Jaatinen’s works are defined by his extensive architectural knowledge and perceptive sense of drama. However, the author himself admits that the dramas that enliven his stable family life are mainly related to leisure activities – a classical piano piece that turns out to be too difficult, water voles going on a binge in the apple orchard he guards, carrots growing without roots and forest mushrooms tormented by dry weather.
The short story Tuomas Korhonen’s Last Day is the pearl of Antti Jaatinen’s second book. It is the most impressive attainment of the macabre humour which also colours the two other novellas in the collection. (…) In general, Jaatinen writes well, with realistic depictions of the surroundings and an understanding of the selfish motives and ideas of individuals.
– Teppo Kulmala, Savon Sanomat
There is in Antti Jaatinen’s narrative voice something of the same even-tempered chattiness as Veikko Huovinen, the master of the style. In the end, despite their imperfections, Jaatinen examines his characters with gentle melancholy, a crooked smile on his face.
– Johanna Hellsten, Rakennuslehti
Towards the end, Death Watch Beetle’s black humour becomes tragedy, and at its best it displays an almost Gogol-like fury.
– Pertti Lassila, Helsingin Sanomat
Death Watch Beetle doesn’t just open the reader’s eyes, it awakens him like a barrel of clear lake water and forces him to take a stand.”
– Heli Peltoniemi, Turun Sanomat
Antti Jaatinen’s first novel is a harmonious whole. The characters and events have a definite purpose with regard to the greater story. (…) The architect-author is at his best in his descriptions of the built environment and landscape.
– Pekka Jaatinen, Kaleva
The novel has many thrilling moments, and the dreamlike ending is enticingly poetic.
– Marja Leppälahti, Kiiltomato
Antti Jaatinen’s three novellas, characterised by dark humour and cutting irony, are united by the common threads of money and architecture. In the title story, The Snow King, architect Jaakko Vasara starts designing a neogothic palace for his eccentric childhood friend, Finland’s richest man. The palace, which assumes vast proportions, is to be an exact copy of Fonthill Abbey, commissioned by Lord Beckford at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Moreover, it is to be built on the fells of Lapland – out of snow and ice.
In the second story, Tuomas Korhonen’s Last Day, building contractor Korhonen is called to account for his sins when Satan demands his soul. The third story, Million, tells the story of the miserly Eino and his efforts towards a seven-figure bank balance.
In Jaatinen’s tales, twisted personal values and the consequences of greed attain levels of absurdity that almost belong in a horror story. At the same time, the stories are sympathetic towards their protagonists’ furious need to leave some personal legacy. The snow palace is both a joint memorial to the architect and his client and a scar carved across the Lappish landscape. Tuomas Korhonen, meanwhile, spends his last day pondering the effects he has had on others. Eino, saving for his million, tortures himself quietly in his cabin. Will any trace be left of him after he’s gone?
Original name: Lumikuningas ja muita kertomuksia
Publisher: Atena Kustannus 2011
Hardcover 130 x 200 mm
Cover design: Timo Mänttäri