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Books on Tap – The Year of the Hare

January 3, 2011

Read a very interesting book review over the weekend on, The Year of the Hare, by Finnish author, Arto Paasilinna. The review by Pico Iyer was insightful and on its own worth reading again. So, here is another book for my short list for 2011.

From Booklist
A Finnish journalist and a photographer out on assignment one June evening suddenly hit a young hare on a country road. The photographer, ultimately unsympathetic, abandons his journalist companion Vatanen, who sets off to find the wounded hare. Vatanen develops a close bond with the hare and in their adventures together, they witness people’s avarice, inhumaneness, hypocrisy, cruelty, participation in bureaucracy, and mere existence, rather than living, in the world. This last realization in particular is life altering for Vatanen: he quits his job, discards his hopeless marriage, sacrifices financial security, and sells his most prized possession (a boat). All this Vatanen replaces with a life of odd jobs and on-the-road experiences. This picaresque novel could simply depict a middle-age crisis, but it reaches beyond fantasy or fiction, becoming mythic in its universal themes. The story is inventive, satirical, and quite humorous. It is also refreshingly sentimental in the sense that Paasilinna reaffirms our connection with the animal world and our inherent need for happiness and freedom to maintain quality of life.

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