Customer Reviews


27 Reviews
5 star:
 (16)
4 star:
 (7)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finnish magic
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...
Published on 26 Mar 2009 by Robert Machin

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'the hare nestled its head between its little forepaws, ears trembling with the thumping of its heartbeat'
'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...
Published on 8 Jun 2012 by sally tarbox


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finnish magic, 26 Mar 2009
By 
Robert Machin (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Year of the Hare, The (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Adventure, 5 Dec 2001
By A Customer
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars and now for something completely different, 9 April 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Year of the Hare, The (Paperback)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get into a Finn's head!, 3 May 2000
By 
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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discover Finland, 6 Dec 2010
This review is from: Year of the Hare, The (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely, gentle and compassionate work., 31 Mar 2014
By 
Stuart Mcleod "Word Lover" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Year of the Hare, The (Paperback)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'the hare nestled its head between its little forepaws, ears trembling with the thumping of its heartbeat', 8 Jun 2012
By 
sally tarbox (aylesbury bucks uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Year of the Hare, The (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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written classic, 28 Feb 2011
This review is from: Year of the Hare, The (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Gem from Finland, 6 Oct 2010
By 
This review is from: Year of the Hare, The (Paperback)
This is the perfect book to leave beside your guest's bedside as it is less than 140 pages and very easily read in one sitting. For a book first published in Great Britain 15 years ago it is surprising that it has not attracted more acclaim.
Paasilinna spins a very entertaining story around a man, Vatanen, and his hare he saves after being hit by a car. Vatanen gives up his life as a married journalist and spends a year travelling around Finland with the hare. There are numerous incidents which occur but the book has much deeper resonance about many issues and which would benefit from a second reading, something I rarely do. Each chapter has a title and particularly appealing was "The President" which even read alone should encourage most readers to see the wonderful ability Paasilinna has to entertain whilst cutting much deeper into Finnish Life and the real wider world.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Year of the Hare, 29 Oct 2011
This review is from: Year of the Hare, The (Paperback)
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 UNESCO Collection of Works I thought that I might just be on to a winner.

It all starts so simply. It is late in the day and a journalist and his photographer are driving home across country, They pull up when they hit and injure a young hare. Vatanen, the journalist pursues the hare into the forest. And he doesn't come back. Eventually, the photographer decides the he must leave without him.

Meanwhile, in the forest Vatanen finds the hare, nurses it, and gradually wins its trust. And he makes a decision. To break free of his dull life, his stagnant marriage, and live a simpler life, travelling through the country, picking up casual jobs to fund essentials, and appreciating the world around him.

The writing was simple: plain, clear prose, and short, sharp sentences. The idea seemed simple. But the story wasn't so simple, there was plenty more to come.

Man and hare traveled together, encountering all manner of people. And many different reactions to the hare.

One man goes out of his way to help Vatanen find food for his companion. A woman oohs and aahs. One man is determined to but the hare, another is equally determined to separate man and beast, to uphold the law, to normalise the situation. And a priest fetches his shotgun when he finds droppings in his church ...

Each and every reaction says something about human nature, and human society.

There are adventures too, as the story moves from the realism of the opening to something that I can only describe as picaresque: forest fires, pagan sacrifices, military war games, killer bears and much more.

Living a simple life is not so simple.

Events built to a dramatic conclusion. What did it all mean? I think I know, but I really shouldn't say.

The story moved along nicely, with wit and intelligence ever-present, becoming stranger. The characters were vivid, the places wonderfully evoked. I almost believed in the bond between man and hare, the man maybe replacing the young animals parents, effectively making it a pet.

Almost, but not quite. I can't really explain why but something didn't quite ring true. The hare was too docile, too in thrall to the man, and I don't think I wanted to believe that such a beautiful, secretive, wild animal could be pulled so easily into our human world.

And that might be why The Year of the Hare was always a story I watched rather than a story I could become involved in.

It was a book I could appreciate and admire, but I book I couldn't quite love the way that I thought I might.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Year of the Hare, The
Year of the Hare, The by Arto Paasilinna (Paperback - 1 Aug 2006)
6.29
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews