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Publisher's Summary

Vatanen, a journalist, is feeling burned out and sick of the city. One summer evening, he and a photographer set out on an assignment, and as they drive through the country, the car hits a young hare. Vatanen leaves the car to save the injured creature, and the grateful animal adopts him. This small incident becomes a turning point in Vatanen’s life as he decides to break free from the world’s constraints. He quits his job, leaves his wife, and sells his possessions to travel the Finnish wilds with his newfound friend. During their farcical adventures they encounter forest fires, pagan sacrifices, military war games, killer bears, political scandals, and much more.
ARTO PAASILINNA is a writer whose works have been at the top of the bestseller lists for twenty years. His books long remained unnoticed by Finland’s chronically antagonistic literary critics, but thanks to his great popularity, many of them have reassessed their opinions. In France, his books have not only proven bestsellers but also critical triumphs.
©2010 Translation 1995 by Herbert Lomas; foreword 2010 by Pico Iyer (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

“Paasilinna has been amusing Finns for thirty years and readers in twenty-five languages.” ( New York Times)
“This picaresque novel could simply depict a middle-age crisis, but it reaches beyond fantasy or fiction, becoming mythic in its universal themes. The story is inventive, satirical, and quite humorous.” ( Booklist)
“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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Byron B. Woolley on 02-25-17

Fascinating Finnish Follies

A reporter in Finland rescues a baby hare and discovers his humanity and physical strength tested.
The ending is most gratifying.

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15 of 17 people found this review helpful


By Janice on 11-03-17

Lost in translation

While the premise was intriguing, I was disappointed in how undeveloped Vatanen was as a character. Initially I was under the impression he must have been relatively old as he mused on the disappointments of his life. But as he gets into his adventures, it was obvious that he had to be much younger than I thought. Actually, we are never told how old he is, or much else about who he is as a person. His sojourn with his furry companion is a series of encounters in which the people he meets are the center of attention and he is the spectator. And when each encounter is over, it’s over and we move on, seemingly unaffected. If we were intended to get something out of each episode, then the message got lost in translation.

In the last 1/3 things start getting stranger, with Vatanen changing from his mild mannered self to something more erratic and darker, with no arc in the story creating the change. The ending was unfinished and just dropped off the ledge. There was enough in the relationship between man and hare to lend some gentle sweetness, and Simon Vance’s usual marvelous performance was also a great asset. I can round up to 3 stars for what is really a 2.5.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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