Suddenly realizing what's important in life (with the help of a bunny), a man quits his job and heads to the countryside in this internationally bestselling comic novel.
"Which of us has not had that wonderfully seditious idea: to play hooky for a while from life as we know it?" With these words from his foreword, Pico Iyer puts his finger on the exhilaratingly anarchic appeal of The Year of the Hare.
While out on assignment, a journalist hits a 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"The year of the hare", by finnish writer Arto Paasilinna, is a finger-licking good book, period! It's about a journalist who unintentionally runs over a young hare while being on an assignment. He gets out of the car to help the wounded animal, venturing into the surrounding forest and... well, doesn't come back. While attending the animal something happens in his mind and he suddenly realizes that he can't cope anymore with his life, his wife, the rhythms of modern society, his boss and everything. He therefore forswears everything in favour of a new life, with the hare as his sole companion through the small adventures he's about to experience. From a certain point of view he becomes a revolutionary because he proves that one can live happily outside society, in fact happier than ever before... I don't necessairly share his point of view but the tale is so imbued with happy feelings and lightness that one can's help but feel touched! As for the writing, Arto...
After having read a "delightful" review, in a notable newspaper, a friend read Arto Paasilinna's "The Year of the Hare" and recommended it to me. I suppose because my friends life is more structured than my own and I'm viewed as "odd". Whatever, I felt compelled to read the book and, frankly, I came away surprised that, on the back cover, the story is said to have similar appeal as "Watership Down" and "Jonathan Livingston Seagull". I fail to see that at all. I've read and enjoyed, immensely, both books and "Duncton Woods" as well. All three provide "similar appeal" to one another, however, not to this story. "The Year of the Hare" as written could define minimalism, it reminded me of reading a journal, or diary, of someone who came to the conclusion that his way of life wasn't working and strayed into one very odd adventure after another, all ending somewhat positively. It's, thankfully, a quick read of 194 pages and everything that happens to the protagonist, during his travels,...
The cover of the book says that The Year of the Hare is "a picaresque novel with an ecological theme". I had a general idea what picaresque means, but to be on the safe side, I decided to look the word up.
According to the Google definition service, "Picaresque" means 1) "Of or involving clever rogues or adventurers". or 2)"Of or relating to a genre of usually satiric prose fiction originating in Spain and depicting in realistic, often humorous detail the adventures of a roguish hero of low social degree living by his or her wits in a corrupt society."
I think that the definition indeed sums the book up nicely, although I think that you could argue that Vatanen is not really of low social degree-- although he does become that for the sake of his hare.
In places, the Year of the Hare can become a little bit difficult to read. The Finnish politics went straight over my head as did (I suspect) much of the subtlety relating to Finnish life. Particularly at...
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