The Unknown Soldier


The Unknown Soldier (Finnish: Tuntematon sotilas, Swedish: Okänd soldat) or Unknown Soldiers is a war novel by Finnish author Väinö Linna, considered his magnum opus. Published in 1954, The Unknown Soldier chronicles the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union during 1941–1944 from the viewpoint of ordinary Finnish soldiers. In 2000, the manuscript version of the novel was published with the title Sotaromaani ("the war novel") and in 2015, the latest English translation as Unknown Soldiers. A fictional account based closely on Linna's own experiences during the war, the novel presented a more realistic outlook on the formerly romanticized image of a noble and obedient Finnish soldier. Linna gave his characters independent and critical thoughts, and presented them with human feelings, such as fear and rebellion. Although published to mixed reviews, The Unknown Soldier quickly became one of the best-selling books in Finland and is considered both a classic in Finnish literature and a part of the national legacy. The novel was well received by frontline veterans; it shot Linna to literary fame and has been described as creating a shift in the collective memory of the war. It has sold nearly 800,000 units, been translated into 20 different languages and adapted into three films with the latest one released in 2017.
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original title: Tuntematon sotilas
language: Finnish
date of publication: 1954
based on: Sotaromaani
genre: war novel
main subject: Continuation War
narrative location: Finland
characters: Vilho Koskela, Urho Hietanen, Antero Rokka, Jorma Kariluoto, Kaarna, Lammio, Yrjö Lahtinen, Lehto, Mäkilä, Vanhala, Rahikainen, Aarne Honkajoki, Määttä, Riitaoja, Asumaniemi, Korpela


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