The Beggar and the Hare
written by Tuomas Kyro
Faber & Faber | ISBN 9781780721644
Hardback – 304 pages
Member’s price: $22.50
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A compelling modern fable about Europe, rich and poor, capitalism and the human heart - it is unlike anything else you will ever read.
Vatanescu, a young Romanian construction worker, wants a future for himself and pair of football boots for his son. So off he goes to a cold, dark country to beg.
Vatanescu knows a little about Finland from the novels of Arto Paasilinna, but he has no idea what he is letting himself in for and soon he is kneeling on the asphalt in Helsinki.
The wretchedness of living on the streets is lifted when Vatanescu and his fellow beggars throw a sumptuous feast from the contents of a dumpster. However, their employer, the Russian human trafficker Jegor Kugar, profoundly disapproves of this bacchanal. A conflict ensues, as a result of which Vatanescu ends up on the run, having to evade both international criminal organizations and the Finnish police.
Our hero then strikes up with a fellow fugitive, a hare that has itself been sentenced to death for the crime of living within Helsinki's city limits. Their shared journey takes the beggar and the hare first to Lapland as berry-pickers, then to the National Idea Park construction site - and eventually to the upper echelons of Finnish politics...