The Year of the Hare
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The Year of the Hare

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  3,282 ratings  ·  398 reviews
A journalist and a photographer set out on an assignment on lovely sunny evening. As they drive through the country they hit a young hare. Vatanen, the journalist, leaves the car and goes in search of the injured creature. The grateful animal adopts Vatanen and together the two scamper through farcical adventures and political scandal.
Paperback, 194 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Peter Owen Publishers (first published 1975)
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5th out of 304 books — 75 voters


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K.D. Absolutely
Mar 12, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2008-2010)
Has a time ever come into your life when you thought of just walking away and leave everything behind?

It had never crossed my mind until when I was reading this book. I think it could not totally be a bad idea.

No, I am neither thinking about killing myself nor leaving my wife and my daughter. I just cannot live without them. This is about that spur-of-the-moment decision that you had enough and you want to pursue another life. You pick you bag, check your wallet and just go the opposite direct...more
Jim Coughenour
Over Christmas I met a Swedish woman at a dinner party – we got talking about Scandinavian literature, a recently acquired passion of mine. She suggested Paasilinna's The Year of the Hare – which is apparently a classic in Finland, where it was first published in 1975.

What a marvelous book! It perfectly captures the spirit of the 70s, and the Finnish setting gives it a kind of magic. It starts off in with an accident – in fact, the whole book is nothing but a series of accidents, but not the clo...more
Dana Burgess
'The Year of the Hare' is a Finnish book that has been translated into English. In it, Vatanen picks up an injured hare and walks away from his life to just hang out for a year. Interesting premise but I think it loses something in the translation.

The most endearing character in the book is, without doubt, the hare who heals from his injuries and becomes unfailingly loyal to Vatanen. The book would have benefited from being told from the hare's perspective. As it is, Vatanen comes off as boring...more
Noce
Paasilinna e il suo potere balsamico.

Arto mi fa un effetto agrodolce.
Il suo stile è più didascalico dei sottotitoli di un Tg, eppre le storie che racconta sono come le caramelle balsamiche. Le succhi distrattamente, ma alla fine ti pizzica il naso.

L'uomo che abbandona la frenetica vita cittadina, preferendole una salubre esistenza silvestre, non sarebbe di per sé neanche un tema particolarmente originale, se non fosse che la semplicità spartana con cui Paasilinna descrive il ritorno alla natura,...more
Jane
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...more
Danny
Translated from the work of the Finnish author, I picked up this book as a short book intermission that looked fun. The basic idea is a reporter in Finland is in a car that hits a young hare, he gets out to help the hare and decides to leave his life behind and wander the countryside with his rabbity friend.

It was fun sometimes, in the way that any novel about someone leaving behind life and successfully vagabonding around with no responsibilities or cares will be fun. But it wasn't as comical o...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
A quick read about a journalist who rescues a hare and spends a year wandering into whatever life has for him. I think it is supposed to be funny, except for me I don't think the humor really translates. I did like all the Finnish names and some of the characters, and it gave some insight into a government I don't know anything about.

"Even in an agreeable village, one can't hang around doing nothing forever."

"Loving animals can be a heavy load."

Marnie


Have you ever had the urge to tell your boss to " take this job and shove it" ( thank you Johnny Paycheck) or maybe longed to chuck all of your responsibilities and go live in a hut somewhere? Maybe it is because I'm an empty-nester but I often fantasize about grabbing my husband and just leaving. This book is about a guy who chooses to walk away from his life. He spends a year traveling around Finland,with a hare, finding adventures wherever he goes. Some of the stories were funnier than others...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
Again, it needs that 1/2 star - because it's about a 2.5 star read. I'm glad I "listened" to this one instead of reading it, because I'm certain I would never have finished it if I was reading in book format. It's a story of a man that is driving with a co-worker and they hit a hare. He goes off in to the woods to see if the hare is still living and has an epiphany. He leaves his wife, quits his job, sells his possessions and wanders around for one year with the hare as his companion. It's a qui...more
Vale
"L'anno della lepre" è una simpatica storia ambientata tra la Finlandia e l'URSS. Vatanen è un giornalista stufo della sua vita ripetitiva, profondamente triste, di quella tristezza muta che non trova le parole per esprimersi: nulla da condividere con il suo collega e compagno di viaggio e nulla da dire ad una moglie tirannica. A volte capita che questa tristezza che coviamo in noi, emerga e avvolga anche il mondo esterno, con una spuma che copre e attutisce il mondo, permettendoci di continuare...more
Pam Parks
Last night I finished Arto Paasilinna's humorous book The Year of the Hare (1975). Normally I won't read books that have main characters that are animals because I worry throughout the entire book something awful will happen to the animal. Ever since I read John Steinbeck's The Red Pony and Anna Sewell's Black Beauty as a young teenager I don't trust literature about animals.

As I need to have an opinion of this book by the first week in October I didn't have much choice so I held my nose, closed...more
Cindy
I bought this book thinking it would be an eye opening experience and an escape into a wild world where Kaarlo Vatanen escapes the modern world with his hare to discover magic and freedom in a way that I hadn't perceived before. I had high hopes and perhaps they were too high. I found that while clever and well written the book's magic was a little flat for me. I am not sure if it's the translation or if the book just prattles along on a luke warm journey through Finland without much oomph. It w...more
Jim
Arto Paasilinna was working as a journalist, a job he found was growing "more superficial and meaningless" by the day and he was looking for a change. So, what did he do? He quit his job to write a novel. That novel, The Year of the Hare, became an overnight hit and has since been translated into twenty-five languages and has been made into a film, twice, a Finnish version in 1977 and an inferior 2006 French version.

The premise is simple enough: the book’s protagonist is travelling in a car that...more
Curtis Ackie
At times it felt as though I were reading a children's book, and I'm not sure if that was due to the translation. An interesting idea, but this book lacks something.
I found Vatanen, and most of the characters he meets along his journey, to be shallow, not nearly enough character building.
There were things I failed to understand, such as why Vatanen hid whilst the vicar was trying to kill his loyal companion. Also, aside from being the catalyst behind Vatanen running away, the hare seemed a lit...more
Jane Brant
Whimsical, ridiculous, funny, a parable, an animal story...I don't know really what you'd label this novel. But one thing for sure, I love the juxtapositions within the story of the characters, values, etc. I laughed and chuckled several times...who would rescue a hare and go through all the situations the main character does. I would recommend this book to people a little off center...you know, the interesting people who don't march to the same drummer everyone else does. Cross over into this l...more
Anastasia
Mah! L'ho trovato senza mordente, a tratti soporifero, o forse sono io che non capisco questa famosa "ironia finlandese", o di Arto Paasilinna nello specifico. So solo che mi sono annoiata abbastanza e che verso la fine non vedevo l'ora di passare ad altre letture. E parlando del lato umoristico: non mi ha fatta né sorridere né tanto meno ridere. Sì, per carità: simpatico forse, leggero, ma niente di rilevante per i miei gusti.
Ho letto in giro che in effetti questo è inferiore rispetto ad altri...more
Lora Grigorova
The Year of the Hare: http://readwithstyle.wordpress.com/20...

Kaarlo Vatanen is a middle-aged Finnish journalist, disappointed with his job and utterly tired of his wife. For quite a while he has acquiesced with a lonesome and purposeless existence, afraid or unable to change a thing. Until one day, when the car he is travelling in hits an innocent hare. Seized by a sudden impulse, Vatanen jumps out of the car to take care of the injured animal. When his companion leaves him in the middle of now...more
Moriah
Whimsical, fun, and quirky -- I wanted to run away with a rabbit myself by the end of it.

I'm a Finn-ophile, if there is such a thing, which is the reason I picked up this book. The storytelling has a quality reminiscent of the more madcap Kalevala tales that are the bedrock of Finland's literary tradition. It uses absurdity contrasted with banality to create characters and settings that are both realistic and fanciful at the same time. I found it very effective.

As a main character, Vatanen is tr...more
Kathryn
If, like me, you enjoyed Jonas Jonasson's The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared, it's very likely that you'll enjoy this sharply witty story by Finnish writer, Arto Paasilinna.

Disenchanted journalist, Vatanen, is out on a story together with a photo-journalist for the magazine they both work for, when he climbs out of their car after it hits a hare who limps off into the nearby woods. He follows the hare, finds it and never goes back to the car. Which is just as w...more
Anna
Jäniksen vuosi (original - I was lucky to find a copy in the original), fortunately translated in other languages too; The Year of the Hare, L'Anno Della Lepre etc.

Klassista Paasilinnaa. Yksi isani kaikkien aikojen suosikkikirjoista.
Vaikka kirja on ensin julkaistu 1975, se on kirjoitettu erittain klassisesti, ja sen huumori ei ole paljoa vanhentunut. Taitaa olla minunkin (suomeksi kirjoitettujen) kirjojen suosikkilistan huipulla.
Huumori on loistavaa. Tama pitaa hankkia viela muilla kielilla ku...more
Teresa
Vatanen é um homem infeliz. Perdeu os sonhos da juventude. Está desiludido com o trabalho, com o casamento…
Numa viagem com um colega de trabalho atropelam uma lebre bébé. Vatanen desce do carro, para procurar o animal ferido, e é abandonado no meio da floresta.
Por instantes hesita entre voltar à estrada, ou seguir, com a lebre, “na direcção do crepúsculo nascente”.
Como um suicida, Vatanen abandona tudo e segue na direcção do desconhecido…da vida?
Dedica-se ao pequeno animal como um pai a um filh...more
Jenn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vera Marie
If you are too timid to actually cut all the ties to your "civilized" life, but still have a yearning to get away from clocks and calendars, >Arto Paasilinna'>s Year of the Hare provides the perfect escape literature. A journalist riding across Finland with a photographer, feels the car hit a hare (not a bunny rabbit--hares are larger, related to jack rabbits ). Vatanen, the journalist, gets out to check on the hare, who has retreated into the woods with his broken leg, and the two of them...more
Tracey-Lee
Was something lost in translation? The translation was poor in this copy, as was the editing. I was jarred by more than a few glaring errors that had me crossing my eyes and reading sections over more than a few times. Personally, I can't spell worth a damn, (bless you spell checker) and my dyslexia makes the addition and/or absence of words in my own writing a common problem, but then again, I can't afford to pay an editor...the publishers of YOTH could, and should consider hiring a new one for...more
Tyler Jones
Finish author Arto Paasilinna is best known to English readers for two books; The Year of the Hare and The Howling Miller. "Hare" is the most famous of the two but I liked "The Miller" much more.

Plot summary: A Journalist, fed up with his job, his wife and modern life in general, walks away from all of it and tramps around the backwoods of Finland with a rabbit he has nursed back to health after car accident. The pair go off on a series of picaresque adventures involving Russian soldiers, animal...more
Jackie
This story was originally published in 1975 in Finland. And translated into 25 different languages. At last, it's about to be in our hands--and what an amazing delight this story is! Vatanen is a journalist, on the road with a photographer covering a story, when their car accidentally hits a hare. Vatanen makes the driver stop and searches forthe wounded animal. After quite a long while, he finds him and brings him back to the car as the creature has a broken leg and Vatanen wants to take it to...more
Marc Brackett
I've been on a Finnish kick lately and this one was at the top of the list. Years ago I read a review in the Wall Street Journal about this book and even went to far as to mail the review to a friend that was going through a difficult time. The general story behind the book is that controlling our lives is an illusion and we should embrace and celebrate this lack of control. Our at least that's what the review said.

The preface to this book also said something very similar. However I was unable...more
Jessica
May 16, 2010 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jessica by: Siri
A charming if inconsequential book about a man who decides to walk out on his life and start over again. Told largely in vignettes, The Year of the Hare describes a year in the life of Vatanen, a journalist who has been unhappy in his job and relationship for a long time. When his car strikes a hare while out on assignment a few hours from home, Vatanen follows the injured hare into the woods, nurses it back to health, and makes it his constant companion as he wanders farther and farther from hi...more
Ryan Mishap
"Anarchic" seems to be the prevailing descriptor for not only this novel of adventures but for the new-found life of the main character, Vatanen, after he rescues a hare injured by the vehicle he is traveling in. He abandons his current life and makes no plans, hare in tow.

While different from how I thought the tale was going to unfold--and a little dated having been published first in 1975--this is thoroughly enjoyable as a straight-forward rollicker about a societal drop-out or as allegory fo...more
Vicki
Mar 12, 2011 Vicki rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vicki by: IndieBound Next list
Shelves: library-books, novels
This is “a novel with an ecological theme”, which makes it sound more intriguing than it actually is. The ecological theme is this: nature / solitude good; people / cities [/ women] bad. The main character, a middle aged gossip journalist, gets out of a car on the highway to find a hare that the driver struck, and then just walks into the forest with it and away from his life. Then he has random adventures and encounters, always with the hare by his side, and each time he gets caught up with a b...more
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Arto Tapio Paasilinna is a Finnish writer, being a former journalist turned comic novelist. One of Finland's most successful novelists, he has won a broad readership outside of Finland in a way few other Finnish authors have before. Translated into 27 languages, over seven million copies of his books have been sold worldwide, and he has been claimed as "instrumental in generating the current level...more
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