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The Year of the Hare: A Novel
     

The Year of the Hare: A Novel

3.3 13
by Arto Paasilinna, Pico Iyer (Foreword by), Herbert Lomas (Translator)
 

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Suddenly realizing what's important in life (with the help of a bunny), a man quits his job and heads to the countryside in this internationally bestselling comic novel.

"Which of us has not had that wonderfully seditious idea: to play hooky for a while from life as we know it?" With these words from his foreword, Pico Iyer puts his finger on the

Overview

Suddenly realizing what's important in life (with the help of a bunny), a man quits his job and heads to the countryside in this internationally bestselling comic novel.

"Which of us has not had that wonderfully seditious idea: to play hooky for a while from life as we know it?" With these words from his foreword, Pico Iyer puts his finger on the exhilaratingly anarchic appeal of The Year of the Hare.

While out on assignment, a journalist hits a hare with his car. This small incident becomes life-changing: he decides to quit his job, leave his wife, sell his possessions, and spend a year wandering the wilds of Finland-with the bunny as his boon companion.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First published in 1975 at the height of the back-to-nature movement, Paasilinna's charming, low-key allegory pursues a journalist abandoning his Helsinki life for the companionship of a pet hare. Approaching middle age--"the hopes of youth had not been realized, far from it"--Kaarlo Vatanen takes off after a hare he and his friend have accidentally hit while driving. He tends to the hare's leg, befriends the critter, deserts his friend, gradually sheds his former life, and eventually refits a cozy cabin in the wilds of Lapland. Paasilinna fashions in each step of Kaarlo's transformation a test of society's institutions, and finds each, not surprisingly, wanting, from law enforcement and the construction industry to the army. The hare, meanwhile, is innocently plucky, leaving his droppings on the altar of a church and in the soup of a Swedish lady. It's cute enough, if baldly obvious in the way that parables often are. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"This is escapism at its best. . . . Really, it's just pure fun, like an adult fairy tale-a fantasy of what might happen if one day you just said, 'Oh, the hell with it.' "
-Lynn Neary, NPR.org

"[A] wonderful book . . . If you are too timid to actually cut all the ties to your 'civilized' life, but still have a yearning to get away from clocks and calendars, Arto Paasilinna's The Year of the Hare provides the perfect escape literature. . . . The humor in this book just sneaks up on you. . . . [It] will have you laughing and gasping by turns. . . . The writing is as spare and clean as the lines of Scandinavian design. . . . Of the many lines in this book that I cherished, the last is one of the most delicious: 'Vatanen is a man to be reckoned with.' So is this book."
-Lonely Planet

"A fable of the joys of freedom . . . The hare proves to be a delightful, undemanding, and loyal companion, who can laugh, listen, and feel embarrassment."
-The Boston Globe

"Paasilinna's style is all Finn-a sly sense of humor, a simplicity, a moral compass that points firmly north and out of doors, away from cities. . . . Readers root for Vatanen as he leaps off the mad merry-go-round."
-Los Angeles Times

"Compelling . . . You might just find yourself wishing for a hare to enter your life in the near future."
-Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Beguiling, gently ironic . . . [an] ode to spontaneity and serendipity."
-National Geographic Traveler

"[A] joy . . . The glory of the outdoors is celebrated here, through each season, and we can nearly smell the early clover and meadow vetchling of the hare's diet. . . . Vatanen is who we want to be [and] who we yearn to be brave enough to become, as soon as we stop waiting for the timing to be right."
-BookPage

"Hilarious . . . With its fiercely independent protagonist and its depiction of Finland's wild northland, this comic novel will offer readers a rare opportunity to experience Finland and read one of that country's most popular authors."
-Library Journal

"The Year of the Hare offers enjoyable yarns: fun adventures, agreeably related. . . . It's so good-natured and has so much varied action-and that animal-appeal-that it makes for a consistently enjoyable read."
-The Complete Review

"Exhilarating . . . The sheer literary delight of Arto Paasilinna's comic novels is one of the best-kept secrets in Finland. . . . You'll want to laugh out loud at all the good parts, and savor every lean, simple, honest sentence."
-Shelf Awareness

"The Year of the Hare is only the most Finnish, and perhaps most antically Zen-ish, of a shelf-load of books that tell us to find and live by our own ideas of contentment."
-The Wall Street Journal

"An exemplary comic novel, full of amiable if binding warnings about the septic follies of civilization-to be read with rising anxiety and delight."
-Thomas McGuane

"Step out of the domestic gulag and into The Year of the Hare, a novel that depicts the confident freedom of the journeyman. I loved it."
-Matthew Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft

"I love The Year of the Hare. . . . Which of us wouldn't secretly want to live in a novel as fresh and as full of events as this one?"
-Pico Iyer, from the Foreword

"Paasilinna has been amusing Finns for thirty years and readers in twenty-five languages."
-The New York Times

Foreword
“I love The Year of the Hare. . . . Which of us wouldn't secretly want to live in a novel as fresh and as full of events as this one?” --(Pico Iyer)
The New York Times
“Paasilinna has been amusing Finns for thirty years and readers in twenty-five languages.”
Library Journal - BookSmack!
An international best seller in 1995, this follows a journalist who runs away from his wife and his life after injuring a hare with his car. He nurses the animal back to health, and together they travel across Finland getting into one ridiculous situation after another. Meanwhile, his wife and employers try to track him down. You should read this thoroughly charming and outrageous comic romp before shelving it. (Ed. note: Though previously released in English, this Penguin edition marks the book's U.S. debut, so see the full LJ review in our November 15 issue.) — Mike Rogers, "Classic Returns," Booksmack! 1/6/11
Library Journal
While he is out on assignment, Vatanen, an unhappy Helsinki journalist, accidently hits a hare with his car. A sudden urge prompts him to leave the car and follow the animal into the woods where he bandages its injured leg. Then Vatanen keeps going. With the hare as his buddy, the former journalist ditches his wife, sells his boat, and begins anew in northern Finland, making a living doing odd jobs and finding trouble wherever he goes. In a series of hilarious adventures Vatanen and the hare outwit a thieving crow, bloodthirsty hounds, drunken revelers, an angry bear, a religious zealot, and many pompous politicians who wander into the north. VERDICT Although the first English translation appeared in 1995, this is the first of Paasilinna's works to be released in the United States. With its fiercely independent protagonist and its depiction of Finland's wild northland, this comic novel will offer readers a rare opportunity to experience Finland and read one of that country's most popular authors.—Andrea Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143117926
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/28/2010
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
522,111
Product dimensions:
5.24(w) x 7.58(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"This is escapism at its best. . . . Really, it's just pure fun, like an adult fairy tale-a fantasy of what might happen if one day you just said, 'Oh, the hell with it.' "
-Lynn Neary, NPR.org

"[A] wonderful book . . . If you are too timid to actually cut all the ties to your 'civilized' life, but still have a yearning to get away from clocks and calendars, Arto Paasilinna's The Year of the Hare provides the perfect escape literature. . . . The humor in this book just sneaks up on you. . . . [It] will have you laughing and gasping by turns. . . . The writing is as spare and clean as the lines of Scandinavian design. . . . Of the many lines in this book that I cherished, the last is one of the most delicious: 'Vatanen is a man to be reckoned with.' So is this book."
-Lonely Planet

"A fable of the joys of freedom . . . The hare proves to be a delightful, undemanding, and loyal companion, who can laugh, listen, and feel embarrassment."
-The Boston Globe

"Paasilinna's style is all Finn-a sly sense of humor, a simplicity, a moral compass that points firmly north and out of doors, away from cities. . . . Readers root for Vatanen as he leaps off the mad merry-go-round."
-Los Angeles Times

"Compelling . . . You might just find yourself wishing for a hare to enter your life in the near future."
-Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Beguiling, gently ironic . . . [an] ode to spontaneity and serendipity."
-National Geographic Traveler

"[A] joy . . . The glory of the outdoors is celebrated here, through each season, and we can nearly smell the early clover and meadow vetchling of the hare's diet. . . . Vatanen is who we want to be [and] who we yearn to be brave enough to become, as soon as we stop waiting for the timing to be right."
-BookPage

"Hilarious . . . With its fiercely independent protagonist and its depiction of Finland's wild northland, this comic novel will offer readers a rare opportunity to experience Finland and read one of that country's most popular authors."
-Library Journal

"The Year of the Hare offers enjoyable yarns: fun adventures, agreeably related. . . . It's so good-natured and has so much varied action-and that animal-appeal-that it makes for a consistently enjoyable read."
-The Complete Review

"Exhilarating . . . The sheer literary delight of Arto Paasilinna's comic novels is one of the best-kept secrets in Finland. . . . You'll want to laugh out loud at all the good parts, and savor every lean, simple, honest sentence."
-Shelf Awareness

"The Year of the Hare is only the most Finnish, and perhaps most antically Zen-ish, of a shelf-load of books that tell us to find and live by our own ideas of contentment."
-The Wall Street Journal

"An exemplary comic novel, full of amiable if binding warnings about the septic follies of civilization-to be read with rising anxiety and delight."
-Thomas McGuane

"Step out of the domestic gulag and into The Year of the Hare, a novel that depicts the confident freedom of the journeyman. I loved it."
-Matthew Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft

"I love The Year of the Hare. . . . Which of us wouldn't secretly want to live in a novel as fresh and as full of events as this one?"
-Pico Iyer, from the Foreword

"Paasilinna has been amusing Finns for thirty years and readers in twenty-five languages."
-The New York Times

Matthew Crawford
“Step out of the domestic gulag and into The Year of the Hare, a novel that depicts the confident freedom of the journeyman. I loved it.” --(Matthew Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft)

Meet the Author

Arto Paasilinna is an award-winning author of more than thirty novels, all of which have been translated into numerous languages.

Pico Iyer's essay for The New York Times about leaving a life as a successful journalist for a simpler life became one of its most e-mailed articles. Iyer is the author of numerous nonfiction books about the cultures of the world.

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The Year of the Hare 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
KM89 More than 1 year ago
A short but fun and action packed read
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