What follows is something of a migrant tale, in which Vatanen and his hare go from place to place as they please, seeking solitude in nature and finding odd physical-labor jobs along the way. At first they seem only to encounter people as enchanted with the hare as Vatanen is. The longer Vatanen sets himself apart from "normal" society, however, the more extreme both he and society seem to become. Pretty soon what started as something of a Thoreau-like retreat from modernity turns into something very like madness, complete with troubled encounters with authority and fixations on wild animals.
I will surely be thinking about this book for quite some time, trying to figure out exactly what happens at the end and just who Vatanen might be. Paasilinna's narrative style is mostly sparse, making the chapters quick and self-contained with occasional moments of confusion. The humor is strongly there throughout, eventually souring just a bit into darkness. I'd suggest this book to readers looking for something out of the ordinary, those who enjoy a bit of the absurd in their literature, and those interested in novels in translation.