Happy Days of the Grump by Tuomas Kyrö **Blog Tour Review**
Today I am featuring Happy Days of the Grump on Books, Life and Everything. Written by Finnish author, Tuomas Kyrö, this black comedy takes a wry look at family and relationships.
The Grump, at eighty years old, is more focused on death than life; building his own coffin and keen to write his will in ink - who can trust technology, after all? - he knows that everything was much better in the old days.
But when the Grump finds himself in hospital in a semi-conscious state after falling down his basement steps, his life passes before his eyes. Thinking of the people closest to him and reflecting on the changes society has brought about, he realises he must come to terms with the cards life has dealt him.
This is a quirky and idiosyncratic read with a definite voice of its own. It took some pages to get into that voice but when I did, the pages flew by. The Grump could be so many people who I have met and I loved the originality of the story. It is really an exploration of one man's observations and thoughts but the poignancy of some hit home. People's attitude to the old and to death is telling as he takes the wind out of their sails with his ruminations on building his own coffin and all other areas connected with his death. He draws parallels between the treatment of the old and the young and to me, most of his ideas seem to be about wanting to keep control and the fear of having it taken away from him.
Most interesting is the section at the end of the book where the author explains how the Grump came into being as a radio monologue in 2009. The recognition which the public showed for the character, with his belief that things were better in the old days, led Tuomas to respond with more radio monologues which developed into a book and then a movie. You get the feeling that Tuomas knows the Grump inside out and by the end of the book, he feels familiar to the reader as well.
In short: full of humanity and a wry sense of humour.
About the Author
Tuomas Kyrö is one of the new voices in Finnish literature, whose talents were first showcased in his debut novel, Leather Jacket. Kyrö draws on the long tradition of Finnish prose to tell compelling, even tragic stories with great authority. He is also a prolific cartoonist and columnist.
Happy Days of the Grump is published by Manilla, an imprint of Bonnier Zaffre which specialises in European Literature.
Book links: Amazon UK
Thanks to Imogen Sebba of Bonnier Zaffre for a copy of the book and a place on the blog tour.
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