C.'s Reviews > The Year of the Hare

The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna
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May 11, 2011

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Read in February, 2011

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 wasn't very uplifting for me either and the read was a bit unrewarding.

The Year of the Hare is not a boring book and you can read it in an afternoon or two and it's pleasant and has some undercurrent of swirling meaning that is more than apparent. I have read The Life of Pi and found it to be much more substantial. The book jacket compares this book to The Life of Pi, but the comparison is lost on me.

I am certain Arto Paasilinna is very talented and his writing shines in the easy to read, entertaining prose. The story was entertaining enough and the writing had an other worldly quality to it but the adventures and story were not enough to be life altering, but it did provide a morsel of food for thought in a mild, soupy way. The story is comedic with Vatenen rambling about meeting a lot of different people and getting mixed up in different situations as most everyone falls in love with the hare (who is more of the central character), so it's cute and has some mild adventure and light comedy and social commentary.

If you want to read an adventure story that might change your point of view or get you to thinking (hard) - try to read The Life of Pi and let me know if you think the two books compare with one another. I recommend this book if you are a fan of the author or of Finnish lit, or if you need to kill some time in the airport. It's not a bad read it just isn't what it's hyped up to be.
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