Review: Arto Paasilinna’s “The Year of the Hare”
Possibly the first Finnish novel I’ve ever read, and quite a gripping introduction – I even had dreams I was learning to speak some Finnish-type language afterwards! Paasilinna relates the escapades of un-hero Vatanen (quite different from an anti-hero, in my book) as he drops out of an unsatisfactory midlife in Helsinki. Instead, he saves a wounded wild hare, and the two roam Finland in increasingly erratic and bewildering adventures with bears, WWII materiel, forest fires and Soviet gaol cells. AP’s writing is Hemingway-sparse, Vatanen’s adventures unexpected and oddly exciting, and the incidental exposition of Finnish life good for the curious. Enjoyable and recommended.
Where it came from: CP’s Bookshelf
Time and manner of reading: Armchair and bed reads over the course of one evening
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of/that: Catch 22 and Slaughterhouse-Five – madcap, slightly military, increasingly surrealistic
Who I’d recommend it to: Most thinky readers
Also reading: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon; Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; The Politics of Ecstasy by Timothy Leary; Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier