Friday, December 18, 2009

Michael Moorcock: Katso ihmistä/Behold the Man

A change of pace: I wrote a review for the recent Finnish translation of Michael Moorcock's Behold the Man. The book is Katso ihmistä! in Finnish, which is the literal translation of "Ecce homo".

The book is originally from 1969; the original novella from the New Worlds magazine came out in 1966, and I just heard that there's some padding in the book Moorcock didn't want to do. It's still pretty powerful in just about 160 pages, even though while padding the narrative Moorcock has resorted to techniques that seems outdated now, like using very short, repetitive paragraphs that have no obvious relation to the plot.

The book's about one Karl Glogauer who's had a somewhat hideous life, living without a father and with a cold, distant mother, being abused in school and at a summer camp, and in his adult age being without a direction and without love. He's given an opportunity to travel back in time and he chooses to go to 29 A.C. to witness the crucifixion of Christ. There's cruel, brutal and clever irony in the outcome. Jesus never had to deal with Glogauer has: the poor man has the history of the world on his shoulders.

If you've never read this before, you should definitely check it out. It's a realistic historical novel, a thought-provoking science fictional novel and a philosophical study at the same time. And to buy it is to give more power to the book's Finnish publisher, the small but potent Vaskikirjat, who earlier brought Silverberg's Gilgamesh the King and Richard Matheson's I Am Legend to Finland.
The Finnish cover of the book, by M-L Muukka, doesn't give away the ending of the book, like many US or UK covers seem to do.


karlglogauer said...

Wow! You've done great job with your article, Juri! Many thanks. Rarely seen any reviews of the smart illustration by my wife on the cover of Katso ihmistä!

Muuta asiaa: Omistatko mahdollisesti ylimääräisiä keräilykuvia Kustannus Oy Williamsin julkaisemaan Villi Länsi -keräilysarjaan? Vesterisen Jukalta saan n. joka toinen vuosi täydennystä puutelistani pohjalta, mutta vielä muutama kymmen n. 400 kuvasta puuttuu. Ja minähän sentään aloitin tämän harrastuksen jo 70-luvun puolivälissä…

Ystävällisin terveisin

Raimo E. Tikkanen

Juri said...

Raimo: hauska kuulla sinusta ja mukava, että arvio miellytti. Varsinainen, suomenkielinen arvio on Kiiltomadossa:

Valitettavasti minulla ei ole noita keräilykuvia, en ole kauheasti koskaan keräillyt mitään tällä tavalla.