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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

     

Buster Keaton

by
Kari Hotakainen




Title: Buster Keaton
Author: Kari Hotakainen
Genre: Novel
Written: 1991
Length: 114 pages
Original in: Finnish
Availability: Buster Keaton - Deutschland
Buster Keaton - España
  • Elämä ja teot
  • Buster Keaton has not been translated into English

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Our Assessment:

A- : appealing and creative biographical homage

See our review for fuller assessment.




The complete review's Review:

       Buster Keaton offers variations on a theme, author Hotakainen presenting many different perspectives on comic silent film star Buster Keaton. It is almost a collage of biography, complete with first-person commentary and reports (and Keaton's own reactions to these), but in its wild and constant re-invention less focusssed on fact than on suggesting through art what man and work meant and mean.
       It's a dry and comic fantasy. Hotakainen begins straightforwardly enough -- an autobiographical statement by Keaton himself, then the testimony of his parents -- and the focus here doesn't seem to be that much of a stretch away from being grounded in reality. Yes, his admission that he likes neither the voice of Yoko Ono nor the pop songs of Irina Milan suggests that this account will stray some, but it seems fairly reasonable. Soon enough, however, Hotakainen, goes much further: Clint Eastwood recounts the time he called up Keaton to replace an indisposed Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of his films, Mike Tyson (described as a ' relationship expert and boxer from the Bronx') offers his two cents, and Harry Dean Stanton is introduced as Keaton's son.
       Hotakainen doesn't stick to one trick: there are fan letters, excerpts from Keaton's notebook, cinematic observations. Hotakainen started as a poet, and he shows a nice touch in this transitional work: it's an unconventional prose narrative, concerned with specific impression rather than story-telling, a picture emerging from a tapestry of brief sections.
       It's a particular reading of Keaton, very much tuned to Finnish sensibilities (helped by the fact that Hotakainen establishes (or rather: invents) Finnish connexions), but it's very well done and very good fun.
       Recommended.

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Links:

Buster Keaton: Buster Keaton: Other books by Kari Hotakainen under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Kari Hotakainen is a leading Finnish author.

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© 2006-2012 the complete review

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