the year of the hare by Arto Paasilinna


this book was originally written in 1975 ,and may be describe as new age in a way ,Arto Passilinna is Finnish a journalist poet and novelist .The year of the hare is his most successful book being named a U.N.E.S.C.O BOOK IN 1994 .The book has twice been made into a film in 1977 and 2006 .Arto has published over twenty novel his last published in finland last year Elävänä omissa hautajaisissa (“Alive at His Own Funeral”) .


The story revolves around Vatanen a finnish journalist ,he and a photographer are driving home one evening when they hit a hare . they gather the injured hare .At this point Vantanen decides to nurse the hare and follow it to the far north and wilds of finland,abandoning his previous life and his family as he does so ,but along the way taking a number of small jobs with an assortment of characters he runs along .He wants the hare as his constant companion and only real friend .in the end Vantanen ends up in prison in the old soviet union as the hare doesn’t know about borders . but not even this keeps him from freedom with his hare at his side .

my view-

this book seems to be of its time 1975 ,it is a  new age novel in the vein of Jonathan Livingstone seagull about freedom and being yourself no matter what .Artos use of the hare is wonderful through history the hare has been revered as a magical and mischievous creature .The book is wonderfully paced with short snappy chapters and at 130 pages long is a two sitting or all day book . A real find of a book .

links –

peter owens page


Have you read this book or any finnish fiction ?

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kinna
    Apr 02, 2010 @ 15:29:27

    I’m pretty sure I haven’t read any Finnish authors. So will add this to my list. Thanks!


    • winstonsbooks
      Apr 02, 2010 @ 15:48:32

      there is also tove jansson ,she wrote moomins and adult stories as well the summer and winter books ,thanks for your comment


  2. Nymeth
    Apr 03, 2010 @ 09:47:39

    I think the only Finnish fiction I’ve read was Tove Jansson’s wonderful The Summer Book. I’d definitely like to read more, and I love that cover, but I’m afraid you lost me with the comparison to Jonathan Livingstone Seagull. I didn’t get on with that novel at all, sadly.


  3. Trackback: Oh I should get that, or Additions to my Wishlist #2 « Kinna Reads
  4. Tom Cunliffe
    Apr 04, 2010 @ 18:49:49

    I’m about half way through this one. Your point about it being a bit like J L Seagull is a good one. I find it a bit twee and am not sure its worth all the plaudits its received. You wrote a good review of it above.


    • winstonsbooks
      Apr 04, 2010 @ 19:37:49

      thanks for your comment tom ,yes it is in that new age vein ,suppose it is only a couple of day read


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April 2010


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