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The Year of the Hare: A Novel by Arto…

The Year of the Hare: A Novel (original 1975; edition 2010)

by Arto Paasilinna, Pico Iyer (Foreword)

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991518,651 (3.64)71
Title:The Year of the Hare: A Novel
Authors:Arto Paasilinna
Other authors:Pico Iyer (Foreword)
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2010), Edition: Original, Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, Finnish, Read, 2011

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The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna (1975)


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English (36)  French (5)  Norwegian (3)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (51)
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I like to read (and write) about Finland and this novel had all the elements I enjoy. Snappy dialogue, a fast pace, humour and a brilliant ending. The story is about a dejected journalist who hits a hare with his car. The hare survives and become a companion to the journalist who, thrown by the accident, decides to drop out of society, hit the road and nurse the hare. The book is full of strong colourful characters that the journalist meets along his route as he works his way up to Lapland with his wife and editor on his tail. Highly recommended and I look forward to reading Arto Paasilinna's other English-language work, The Howling Miller. ( )
  Sarah_King | May 29, 2015 |
Tarina saa alkunsa siitä, että kaksi miestä, toimittaja ja valokuvaaja, törmäävät työmatkansa aikana autolla jäniksenpoikaseen. Toimittaja, nimeltään Vatanen, rientää katsomaan kuinka eläimelle kävi. Hän lastoittaa jäniksen takakoiven risunpalasella ja nenäliinan suikaleilla. Vatanen kiintyy jänikseen kovasti ja päättää jättää entisen turhauttavan elämänsä taakseen. Hän ei pidä vaimostaan eikä työstään, joten päätös on helppo. Niin Vatanen aloittaa eri puolilla Suomea tapahtuvan seikkailunsa jäniksen kanssa. Vatanen elättää itseään mm. metsänraivaustöillä, tapaa monenlaisia ihmisiä ja joutuu moniin erikoisiin tilanteisiin. Yhteiskunta ei kovin suopeasti katso tällaista irtiottoa, ja lopulta Vatanen joutuukin vastaamaan erilaisista tempauksistaan.
  alankin | Dec 3, 2014 |
When the car in which he's traveling injures a baby hare, Kaarlo Vatanen abandons his former life as a journalist and goes to live in nature with his new boon companion. This is a fairly short, but strangely intense picaresque which involves pretty much every stereotypical issue you can think of when it comes to Finnish people (the drink, the melancholy, the violence, the contemplation) and also describes the Finnish landscape in hard but loving terms and in great detail (Vatanen and the hare's trip can easily be traced on a map). Vatanen's return-to-nature odyssey lands him in a series of sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and sometimes absurd situations that aren't quite possible, but not entirely impossible either. I'd suggest arming yourself with an extremely dry sense of humor (Finnish-style) before picking this up or you'll be wondering what on earth is going on. ( )
  -Eva- | Sep 30, 2014 |
As the evening of a Finnish midsummer draws in two men, tired after a long and quarrelsome day, are heading home, driving into the sun, the beauty of their surroundings lost on them.

"They were a journalist and a photographer, out on an assignment: two dissatisfied, cynical men, getting on for middle age. The hopes of their youth had not been realized, far from it. They were husbands, deceiving and deceived; stomach ulcers on the way for both of them; and many other worries filled their days."

"On the crest of a hillock, 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."

The photographer brakes too late. The leaping leveret hits the windscreen and is thrown off into the forest. The photographer backs up to the place where the hare was hit and the journalist rushes into the trees to look for it. He finds it, and although its left hind leg is broken it seems otherwise unharmed. The journalist makes a splint for its leg and cradles the hare in his arms as it calms down. He doesn't respond to the impatient calls from the photographer, who angrily drives off, abandoning him. The journalist, Vatanen, idly looks through his wallet and considers its contents, indicative as they are of his life. He then picks up the hare and heads deeper into the forest.

Leaving his old life behind, and outwitting initial attempts by his wife and employer to get him back, Vatanen sets out on a series of adventures largely determined by, or as a consequence of, his concern for the hare. The adventures become increasingly bizarre as Vatanen fights forest fires, herds cows, becomes involved in military war games, and tracks a bear across the border into Russia - always accompanied by the hare.

Part whimsey, part satire, part shaggy dog story, according to the back cover of my edition 'The Year Of The Hare' is the author's favourite of his works, and has long been a best seller in Finland and France (an interesting pairing). I was surprised to see that the novel "is frequently dramatized for the stage and has been made into a film twice". I can't begin to imagine how this could be played out on stage. Even a film would miss the spread and the affectionate detail of the work.

One I will definitely be rereading.
2 vote Oandthegang | Jul 24, 2014 |
Synopsis: Arto Paasilinna is a Laplander, born in Finland in 1942. He is a woodcutter, farm labor, journalist and poet and author of more than thirty novels. The short little story is the tale of a journalist who one day walks away from it all after finding a wounded hare that was just hit by their car. The adventure takes us through Finland with the man and the hare. He works in the forest, helps with various jobs and runs into all kinds of adventures such as forest fires, bears and ravens. It is a humorous story but also a story of a simpler life in harmony with nature.

Opinion: I liked the book because there was so much that brought back childhood memories. This story reminded me so much of my earlier life. My family lived in an area where Finnish people had settled and it is a lot like this land. My dad was best friends with a Finn. The hunted, fished and trapped together. My parents made fish soup and many other Finnish dishes. I took some Finnish cooking classes. The sauna is part of family life. I grew up with the sauna and miss it a lot. The Finnish people that I knew, knew nature. If you grow up in Finland maybe nature is just too much of the culture not to adapt quickly. The story seemed so very believable to me because of my life. Even in college I roomed with a Finnish gal. ( )
  Kristelh | Apr 9, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arto Paasilinnaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Iyer, PicoForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lomas, HerbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parsonage, AlexanderCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Two harassed men were driving down a lane.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Original title: Jäniksen vuosi
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Book description
Vatanen, the journalist is feeling burned out and sick of the city. One summer evening while on assignment his car hits a young hare on a country road. Vatanen leaves the car to save the injured creature. 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, 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.
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While out on assignment, a journalist hits a young hare with his car. This small incident becomes life-changing: he decides to quit his job, leave his wife, sell his possessions, and spend a year wandering the wilds of Finland--with the bunny as his boon companion… (more)

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