Download The Year of the Hare: A Novel Audiobook

The Year of the Hare: A Novel Audiobook, by Arto Paasilinna Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Arto Paasilinna Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2010 ISBN: 9781481545853
3.33 out of 53.33 out of 53.33 out of 53.33 out of 53.33 out of 5 3.33 (9 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Vatanen, a journalist, is feeling burned out and sick of the city. One summer evening, he and a photographer set out on an assignment, and as they drive through the country, the car hits a young hare. Vatanen leaves the car to save the injured creature, and the grateful animal adopts him. This small incident becomes a turning point in Vatanen’s life as he decides to break free from the world’s constraints. He quits his job, leaves his wife, and sells his possessions to travel the Finnish wilds with his newfound friend. During their farcical adventures they encounter forest fires, pagan sacrifices, military war games, killer bears, political scandals, and much more.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Paasilinna has been amusing Finns for thirty years and readers in twenty-five languages.”

    New York Times

  • “His protagonists…are like Vatanen, strong—some very strong—eccentric and often loners. He makes sardonic fun of Finnish bureaucrats, German tourists, the Finnish military and selfish young people.”

    New York Times

  • “When Mr. Paasilinna’s novel appears in this country for the first time next month, it might just prove the perfect way into the actual Year of the Hare, which begins, according to many an Eastern calendar, in January.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Paasilinna’s style is all Finn—a sly sense of humor, a simplicity, a moral compass that points firmly north and out of doors, away from cities…Readers root for Vatanen as he leaps off the mad merry-go-round.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “A fable of the joys of freedom…The hare proves to be a delightful, undemanding, and loyal companion, who can laugh, listen, and feel embarrassment.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Amazing…It can be read over a long winter afternoon and will leave you feeling a little warmer inside.”

    San Francisco Book Review

  • “Compelling…You might just find yourself wishing for a hare to enter your life in the near future.”

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

  • “Step out of the domestic gulag and into The Year of the Hare, a novel that depicts the confident freedom of the journeyman. I loved it.”

    Matthew Crawford, bestselling author of Shop Class as Soulcraft

  • “I love The Year of the Hare…Which of us wouldn’t secretly want to live in a novel as fresh and as full of events as this one?”

    Pico Iyer

  • “Escapism at its best…Just pure fun—a fantasy of what might happen if one day you just said, ‘Oh, the hell with it.’”

    Lynn Neary,

  • “Beguiling, gently ironic…[an] ode to spontaneity and serendipity.”

    National Geographic Traveler

  • “Hilarious…With its fiercely independent protagonist and its depiction of Finland’s wild northland, this comic novel will offer readers a rare opportunity to experience Finland and read one of that country’s most popular authors.”

    Library Journal

  • “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.”


  • “Paasilinna’s story is somehow plausible…and it feels as though we, too, could so easily desert our responsibilities to others to follow what fulfills us. The glory of the outdoors is celebrated here, through each season, and we can nearly smell the early clover and meadow vetchling of the hare’s diet. Vatanen is who we want to be…No, scratch that—Vatanen is who we yearn to be brave enough to become, as soon as we stop waiting for the timing to be right.”


  • A BookPage Book of the Day in January 2011
  • Selected for the January 2011 Indie Next List

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 6/30/2011

    " A quick book to read to remind yourself to get out there and experience life. A well lived life is one experienced and to not get stuck in the grind of every day. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb | 6/13/2011

    " I adored this book. Arto Paasilinna did what many of us wish we could today -- just leave and be done with it, whatever it is. For a longer review, check my blog,, later this week. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lorna | 6/13/2011

    " Sometimes funny, sometimes just weird. I felt it's foreignness (it was a bestseller in Finland)and it's possible I just got lost in the translation. I could appreciate it though. Parts of it were charming (anything to do with the hare, usually)and interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mo | 5/28/2011

    " This book read too much like a set of short stories, which I'm not really a big fan of, so it was a bit difficult to get through. Overall though, pretty interesting and the ending was awesome. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dov | 5/25/2011

    " OK for a read while on a flight, a little simplistic and I'm sure some of the subtleties could have been lost in translation. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jacqueline115 | 5/11/2011

    " What a strange story and an easy read. I was hoping I would like it better than 2 stars. I wish more people were more cautious and kinder towards animals, especially when you accidentally hit them. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Toni | 5/9/2011

    " a bizzare little book very readable as I read it over the weekend. I was expecting something more spiritual but the main character is kind of nuts. I wished he had left the poor bear alone "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marjorie | 4/27/2011

    " What a quirky little book. An interesting read, a few translation errors probably, but a quick, interesting read nonetheless. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 4/13/2011

    " I read this in between dragon tattoo books. It is read by the same man who read those books. Some of the voices are the same so I got my characters a little mixed up. This guy finds a hare that has been run over and the book is about their adventure. The ending is a hoot. "

About the Author

Arto Paasilinna is a writer whose works have been at the top of the bestseller lists for twenty years. His books long remained unnoticed by Finland’s chronically antagonistic literary critics, but thanks to his great popularity, many of them have reassessed their opinions. In France, his books have not only proven bestsellers but also critical triumphs.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and narrator. He has earned more than fifty Earphones Awards and won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration thirteen times. He was named Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008 and has been named an AudioFile Golden Voice as well as an AudioFile Best Voice of 2009. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London. He is also an actor who has appeared on both stage and television.