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Seven Brothers

Seven Brothers (in Finnish Seitsemän veljestä) is the only novel of the Finnish author Aleksis Kivi and the first significant novel in the Finnish language. It was first published in 1870 and has been twice translated into English, first by Alex Matson[?] and later by Richard Impola[?].

Seven Brothers is a tragicomic tale about seven brothers of Jukola family who end up handling their farm after their parents have died. Brothers include the strong Juho, two sets of twins, Tuomas & Aapo and Timo & hunter Lauri, would-be-preacher Simeoni and the youngest Eero.

At first, the brothers are not a particularly peaceful lot and end up quarreling with the local constable, jury, vicar, precentor and teachers – not to mention their neighbours in Toukola village. No wonder young girls' mothers do not regard them as good suitors. When they should learn to read before they can accept church confirmation and therefore official adulthood, they escape.

Eventually they end up moving to distant Impivaara in the middle of relative wilderness but their first efforts are shoddy – in a Christmas eve they end up burning their new house. Next spring they try again and manage to kill a hostile herd of bulls. Ten years of clearing forest for fields, hard work and hard drinking – and Simeoni’s delirium tremens - eventually make them change their ways. They learn to read on their own and eventually return to Toukola.

In the end most of them become pillars of the community and family men. Still, the tone of the tale is not particularly moralistic.

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