Juhani Karila’s novel Fishing for the Little Pike is fantastic in every way, a book rooted in both Lapland and magical realism.
Financial Times wrote of the book:
“Karila’s fusion of crime story and folkloric fantasy is well realised, neither too whimsical nor too serious, with a lovely sense of its own absurdity and an unimprovable message about learning in adulthood to forgive oneself for youthful follies. It manages, too, to make Lapland and its inhabitants seem both unutterably enchanting and utterly bonkers.”
The Avalanches: Since I Left You
While writing short stories, I used to gobble candy and listen to fast-paced rap. But when I started to work on my first novel Fishing for The Little Pike, I needed both the music and the snack to match this new bigger scale prose. So I dropped Kanye West (who helped with the decision by starting to rant right-wing nonsense) and licorice (you’re welcome, teeth) and ended up listening to ambient and nibbling gluten free bread. But soon ambient started to bore me, and I made a new discovery. The Avalanches! Since I Left you is a fantastic track from a fantastic album of the same name, and I listened to the whole thing over and over again.
The Avalanches: Because I’m Me
After listening to the album Since I Left You maybe three times in a row, I picked the second best album (Wildflower) from the same band and gave it a go. Favourite songs: Because I’m Me and If I Was a Folkstar.
Tame Impala: Let It Happen
On some days, after lunch, I bought an ice cream from a store nearby, went to the seashore and just stood there staring at the horizon. Eating the ice cream. Thinking of nothing. After these mini breaks I was ready for the aftersoon session. I went back to my desk and chose Currents from Tame Impala. (Another group from Australia. Coincidence??) The opening track Let It Happen is my absolute favourite, but I really do like the whole set.
Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow
Winter doesn’t start properly without this album. The music is simple, charming and melancholic; just right for writing. I have formulated a bunch of good sentences with the help of Lake Tahoe and Misty, but the title track, featuring mumbling Stephen Fry, tickles one’s imagination like no other.
Joe Hisaishi: A Road to Somewhere
Sometimes, all and any lyrics are too much and then I go instrumental. Soundtracks from the movies of Hayao Miyazaki never let me down. Fishing for The Little Pike wouldn’t be the same without My Neighbour Totoro and Princess Mononoke, and I really admire the atmospheres composer Joe Hisaishi has crafted for them. Honestly, I could pick any track from any Miyazaki movie, but let’s say A Road to Somewhere from Spirited Away.
Juhani Karila is an award-winning author and journalist with a master’s in communication theory. In 2010, Karila won the J.H. Erkko Award, and his first collection of short stories Gorilla (2013), was nominated for the Helsingin Sanomat Prize. His second collection, The Death of the Apple Crocodile (2016), is a series of connected stories about the collision of large and small worlds. Karila’s debut novel Fishing for the Little Pike (2019) won the Kalevi Jäntti Prize, the Tähtifantasia Prize, and the Jarkko Laine Prize. He currently lives in Helsinki, Finland.