Along with The Kalevala, Aleksis Kivi's Seven Brothers is Finland's most celebrated literary treasure. The crowning accomplishment of Finland's first literary genius, Seven Brothers remains "the greatest Finnish novel of all time", the classic among the classics in Finnish literature.
Published in 1870, in the author's 36th year and two years before his untimely death, Seven Brothers laid the foundation for what Kai Laitinen later called "The Great Tradition in Finnish Prose". This tradition is characterized by realism, humor, respect for the common people, and depiction of nature as both friend and foe.
Received at the time of publication by uncomprehending arbiters of literary taste, who still delighted in romantic approaches to literature, Seven Brothers fared poorly in early reviews. Posterity, however, has resurrected the reputation of Aleksis Kivi, and critics, scholars, and readers at large continue to praise the virtues of this trail-blazing, exceedingly rich novel.
Richard Impola's superb English translation captures the brothers' rustic milieu and the exceptional dynamics of Kivi's creative style and artistic conception.