The Year of the Hare

AuthorArto Paasilinna
ISBN: 9781441772169

Why did I read it? It occasionally appeared on recommendation lists on various book sites from whom I purchase books. It sounded interesting and reviews that I found were promising; and it was available in an audio format.

What’s it about? While out on an assignment, a Finnish journalist accidentally injures a hare. Rather than leave it, he decides to seek it out. Vatanen’s human companion deserts him in the forest, and the hare and Vatenen start a life of travelling together. This book narrates their idiosyncratic adventures.

What did I like? The pace, the story, the kookiness, the gentleness, the revelry. The book didn’t take me where I expected to go, but I enjoyed the journey nonetheless.

Vatanen is a character who seems to be enduring a mid-life crisis, and his resolution is to turn his back on civilisation and he takes an injured hare along for the ride. Once recovered, the hare seems reluctant to leave, so they continue on, together. The connection between Vatanen and the hare does comes across as a rather co-dependent relationship, the hare being anthropomorphised, but in this story it works.

Simon Vance‘s narration was pitched perfectly: his voice soothing without being soporific, and the pace he adopted provided a leisurely feel I felt was needed for this story. In fact, The Year of the Hare felt like a long, leisurely walk that took you through some bizarre landscapes.

What didn’t I like? It wasn’t quite what I expected, and, in places, the adventures seemed rather a little too out-of-place and unreal.

Would I recommend it? Yes. It was a great listen in the car on the commute to and from work, and it was pleasing.

Rating: 4½/5.


Filed under Books, Reviews

2 responses to “The Year of the Hare

  1. It was published already in 1975 in Finnish. A movie was made from it in 1977.

    Well, I think that better book than this is “A Charming Mass Suicide” by Arto. Of course it is a matter of taste.

    Happy book reading hobby!

    P.S. I read very seldom Finnish books, but my favorite is the historic roman “The Egyptian” by Mika Waltari. I have read once in Spanish and twice in French.

  2. Thank you for this review. This book is definitely one for the ‘to read/listen’ list.

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