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Year of the Hare, The [Paperback]

Arto Paasilinna
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

1 Aug 2006
Vatanen the journalist is feeling burnt out and sick of the city. One summer evening while on assignment his car hits a young hare on a country road. He goes in search of the injured creature. This small incident becomes a life-changing experience for Vatanen as he decides to break free from the world's constraints. He quits his job, leaves his wife, sells his possessions to travel the Finnish wilds with his new-found friend. Their adventures take in forest fires, pagan sacrifices, military war games, killer bears and much more. A long-time best-seller in Finland and in France, The Year of the Hare is the authorÕs favourite among his works. It has also been translated into Italian, German, Dutch, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Swedish and many other languages. It is frequently dramatized for the stage and has twice been made into a movie.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Owen; 7th Revised edition edition (1 Aug 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0720612772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0720612776
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.1 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Rarely do reviewers come upon a novel they believe to be a masterpiece, which they feel will become part of their imaginative lives. For me The Year of the Hare is such a work. --The European

There is an enchanted lightness to everything they do . . . This is such an inventive novel . . . that one does not want it to end. --Ham and High

No wonder the French have made this book into a cult. Finnish wit is as sharp as the Arctic weather. --Mail on Sunday

There is an enchanted lightness to everything they do . . . This is such an inventive novel . . . that one does not want it to end. --Ham and High

No wonder the French have made this book into a cult. Finnish wit is as sharp as the Arctic weather. --Mail on Sunday

There is an enchanted lightness to everything they do . . . This is such an inventive novel . . . that one does not want it to end. --Ham and High

No wonder the French have made this book into a cult. Finnish wit is as sharp as the Arctic weather. --Mail on Sunday

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finnish magic 26 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback
Beautiful, jewel-like story which somehow creates its own unique world in just 135 generously spaced pages. Moves with great verve from prosaic realism at the start (as Vatanen abandons his bourgeois workaday life and moves increasingly into the wilderness of Finland's icy, forested hinterland) towards a kind of magic at the end as he literally breaks free - with one mighty bound - from the constraints of civilisation. Tempting to talk about 'magic realism' - the thought crossed my mind many times - but it all feels too well grounded, and maybe too funny, for that. Tempting also to call it a kind of fairy tale, but that would suggest a tweeness which the book never has.

The hare itself deserves a mention - a catalyst for Vatanen's change, perhaps a link between the real world and the mystic, but more than that, a real character in its own right for which we quickly share Vatanen's affection. The bear too, and the surprisingly wide cast of supporting characters, are brilliantly drawn.

Like no other book I've ever read, a wonderfully constructed modern fable.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Adventure 5 Dec 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have a lot of Finish friends, and one day I asked one of them to recommend me a book written by a Finnish. He told me that I should have bought "The Year of the Hare". I did it and I read it in a very few days from cover to cover. I was living a fantastic adventure in the land of my Finish friends with a fantastic leader. He and his hare took me over a part of the Finish culture and nature, and inspired me to follow my instincs a bit more often. If you haven't read this book yet, what are you waiting for? It's a must in your personal library.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars and now for something completely different 9 April 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A journalist wanders around Finland for a year, giving up his job, and taking care of a hare. He has some savings so this is not Jack London being a tramp or "down and out in paris and london". More a sabbatical and a chance to look at things afresh.

Much to my surprise, this really delivers - a series of vignettes, each highly memorable and fully realised - and a different take on life and (the) society (of contemporary Finland).

Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely, gentle and compassionate work. 31 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I recently discovered the Finnish novelist Arto Paasilinna when I happened upon his novel "The Howling Miller", which I found to be very moving and mysterious. "The Year of the Hare" I found to be even more wonderful.

It is the tale of a man, who for various complicated reasons, finds himself protecting a wild hare as he has a series of misadventures. It is so movingly told that I found myself completely absorbed and desperately frightened that the poor hare would meet an unfortunate end, even more than I fretted for the fate of his somewhat flawed, but well meaning, guardian.

This is a novel that I long to re-read and re-read. A little gem.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get into a Finn's head! 3 May 2000
Format:Paperback
I'd been living in Finland for over I year before I read this book. Having explored a lot of Finnish wilds with my Finnish friends I can tell you that this book is wonderful exploraition in the workings of a Finnish mind and genrally about the pace of life in Finland. Reccomended reading for anybody to enjoys the simple things in life and also for those who have anything remotely to do with Finland. POSITIVELY BRILLIANT! HYVÄ SUOMIA! HYVÄ ARTO!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discover Finland 6 Dec 2010
By mina
Format:Paperback
Very short book, too short, I would love to go for another 150 pages of adventure and nature - away of it all.
Beautifully written, highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By sally tarbox TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
'An immature hare was trying its leaps in the middle of the road. Tipsy with summer, it perched on its hind legs, framed by the red sun.'
Moments later it's been hit by a couple of cynical middle-aged men driving past, and thus begins this novel, as one of the men, Vatanen, goes into the forest to find it. He chucks in his stressful city life and in the company of his hare- now tame- travels up through Finland to Lappland.
In short chapters, we follow their adventures; at first these are light and believable- collecting grasses, hanging out in a fishing cabin with a couple of policemen, helping at a fire. But things soon become dark and Kafkaesque and Vatanen himself is not the sunny animal-lover we imagined him as we see in his encounters with the raven and the bear.
I certainly can't agree with other reviewers who said they laughed out loud at the novel. I quite enjoyed it but would love to read an essay on what exactly the author was getting at!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written classic 28 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback
A book about a man who tames a wild hare, or a deeper analogy for the stupidity of how we judge our own lives? I didn't hugely care how to interpret this book, it was just a pleasure to read from start to finish. Combining a story which twists and winds its way unpredictably through the Finnish landscape, and a combination of wit, fun, and some serious moments, it's easy to like the main character and his hare and you root for him all the way through.

It's quite hard to describe why this book is so good - it's just beautifully simple and almost innocent. Like a children's book but for adults (there is a modicum of adult-ish content, nothing much though) I suppose. As soon as I finished it I wanted to pick it up and start again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Finnish!
Bought this before a trip to Finland, and have realised it reflects the very dry sense of humour of the Finns. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Angela Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars A DELIGHT!
A wonderful story and whether it is true or not a real page turner makes one want to viist those northern regions.
Published 9 months ago by alocin yenooc
3.0 out of 5 stars Quirky
An interesting read though I did not find it very engaging. Never a laugh-out-loud book but a quirky take on the mid-life crisis.
Published 11 months ago by Paul Hooper
4.0 out of 5 stars escapism
Suspension of disbelief involved here a journey book. A book of escapism I think we can all relate to this character in some ways. Read more
Published 13 months ago by K E Adams
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read...
A short story that charts one man's realisation that life is what you make of it. Whilst an interesting tale, the style. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Andy Nelson
3.0 out of 5 stars year of the hare
not for me found it a bit hard going passed the book on to a male reader.perhaps it loses something in the translation
Published 20 months ago by mojo
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful writer
Arto Paasalinna has an amazing imagination and carries you along with his characters throughout their wild and wonderful adventures. A great read
Published 21 months ago by S. Paschoud
3.0 out of 5 stars Harum scarum
I dunno. Imagine a dog tied with elastic to an anvil. Now imagine that the anvil is civilisation and the dog is an inhabitant of a Scandinavian country. Read more
Published on 3 April 2012 by Sporus
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky but excellent
Vanaten is an eccentric character who one day leaves his job and adopts a wild hare. His various escapades and encounters over the course of a year, travelling spontaneously... Read more
Published on 17 Dec 2011 by jacr100
4.0 out of 5 stars The Year of the Hare
When I saw that this little book was a bestseller in the author's Finnish homeland, that it had been translated into umpteen languages, and that it had even been selected for the... Read more
Published on 29 Oct 2011 by Lynrow Kernow
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