The Year of the Hare

Arto Paasilinna. Peter Owen Publishers. (140p) ISBN 9780720612776

The Year of the Hare
The Year of the Hare
This has been languishing on my shelves ever since I started working in the bookshop. I bought it as it was one of the recommended books in part of the initial training, an exemplar, but at the time I was still reading a relatively narrow range of genres.

I got the opportunity to throw it in my suitcase when we took a trip up to Edinburgh as it felt like it could be the perfect train read.

An episodic travelogue where we follow the journalist Vatanen as he sloughs his past and takes on a new future for himself to deal with his bone weary disappointment with his job, wife and life in general.

Each episode seems to be a completely random development from the previous interlude, and that’s exactly what each chapter feels like, an interlude as the new Vatanen is developing with the aid of the hare that he found at the start of the book. Each chapter has its own internal coherency but adds to the whole, eventually.

The story eventually turns back on itself to a brilliant conclusion, well-written and thoughtfully translated.

This isn’t the first book translated from Finnish that I’ve read and both have had that same sort of dry but very intricate use of humour which is really my taste, loved it!

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