The Year of the Hare

The Year of the Hare

3.3 13
by Arto Paasilinna
     
 

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The Year of the Hare introduces to British readers one of the most successful contemporary Finnish writers. As in Finland, the novel was a runaway best-seller in France, where it became a cult book. A journalist and a photographer set out on an assignment on a lovely sunny evening. As they drive through the country they hit a young hare. Vatanen, the journalist,…  See more details below

Overview

The Year of the Hare introduces to British readers one of the most successful contemporary Finnish writers. As in Finland, the novel was a runaway best-seller in France, where it became a cult book. A journalist and a photographer set out on an assignment on a lovely sunny evening. As they drive through the country they hit a young hare. Vatanen, the journalist, leaves the car and goes in search of the injured creature. This event is the catalyst for a series of bizarre adventures, which take Vatanen beyond the Arctic Circle and into Soviet Russia. Vatanen, middle-aged, dissatisfied, a 'deceived and deceiving' husband in a childless marriage, sells his yacht for ready cash and escapes his confining life in Helsinke. Accompanied by his friend the hare, he lives on his wits and by doing various manual jobs in the wild, thus gaining a total sense of the freedom he has always craved. His picaresque travels lead eventually to his arrest and imprisonment. But that is not quite the end of the story, to which his encounter with the beguiling Leila brings a final happy twist.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A man abandons his conventional life and hits the road with a hare in this offbeat picaresque fable. (Sept.)
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.)
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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780720612776
Publisher:
Owen, Peter Limited
Publication date:
12/07/2006
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
135
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.50(d)

What People are saying about this

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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