The Last of the Vostyachs is the3rd novel by Italian author, Diego Marani, and the second to be translated into English. When Russian linguist Olga Pavlovna, stranded by a blizzard in a remote Siberian village, stumbles across a wild man speaking a strange language, her boredom is instantly transformed into enthusiasm: Ivan is speaking in a tongue thought long extinct. Could he be the last of the Vostyachs? Olga naively shares her discovery with her Finnish colleague, Professor Jarmo Aurtovo, certain he will share her excitement. Consequently, when she entrusts Ivan into the self-serving Aurtovo's care, she has no idea of the magnitude of her error. To the aforementioned elements add: a scorned ex-wife who is determined to be rid of her husband's dog; a Police officer who just wants to watch the ice hockey final; a bar-owning Laplander pimp; a cold snap that freezes the seas in the Gulf of Finland; the XXIst congress of Finno-Ugric languages; an island cabin complete with sauna; zoo animals loose on the streets of Helsinki; an aging, overweight Russian prostitute; and a bunch of people who get excited over the lateral affricative with labiovelar overlay and you have a novel that is a combination of murder mystery, comedy, tragedy, tongue-in-cheek linguistic text and spiritual tale. Readers who find the philological jargon heavy going should persist, as the truly delicious irony of the ending is well worth it. Flawlessly translated by Judith Landry, this is a brilliant novel which will have readers seeking out Marani's other works. Clever, funny and moving.