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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Paratiisisaaren vangit

Arto Paasilinna

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Title: Paratiisisaaren vangit
Author: Arto Paasilinna
Genre: Novel
Written: 1997
Length: 175 pages
Original in: Finnish
Availability: Prisonniers du paradis - France
Vorstandssitzung im Paradies - Deutschland
  • Paratiisisaaren vangit has not yet been translated into English

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Our Assessment:

B : entertaining enough, but unexceptional

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       Paratiisisaaren vangit is an ambitious novel, crashing a plane on its way from Japan to Australia into the ocean near an Indonesian island, leaving 48 survivors stranded and presumed dead, the book's narrator, a Finnish journalist, among them.
       Part of the fun is the odd group of characters that found themselves on this UN-charter flight, including 14 Swedish nurses, 10 Finnish midwives, and 10 Finnish lumberjacks -- all with talents that come in handy, but perhaps not an ideally mixed group for long-term survival.
       The narrator's account of their time on the island describes the expected -- and some unexpected -- complications. Personality conflicts play quite a role, as does some of the nationalism. Medically well-covered (there are also two Norwegian doctors, and a good supply of IUDs), the group lack some other talents.
       The island they're on is one where different factions are also at war; they stay beyond the fray, for the most part, but that first helicopter that passes overhead isn't there to help. An Indonesian deserter does join the group, and a few others are lost. Adventures range from the small (the narrator tries to get a pet monkey, they set up a still) to the very ambitious.
       Most ambitious is, of course, a plan to get off the island, which takes a very long time to set up. And, of course, once they are set to get rescued quite a few of them have second thoughts about leaving their paradise.
       Paasilinna has some good ideas, and many of the episodes and occurrences are quite fun, but this is a novel written in cruise-control, with little effort to develop characters or really explore the situation it posits. Not quite lazily written, it's simply too cursory a look at life on the island to be truly satisfying, and it reads almost like the outline of a much richer, fuller novel.
       An easy, quick, and ultimately slightly disappointing read.

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Paratiisisaaren vangit: Reviews: Arto Paasilinna: Other books by Arto Paasilinna under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Prolific author Arto Paasilinna lived 1942 to 2018. One of the most popular authors in Finland, his work has been widely translated.

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