The Beggar and the Hare

by Tuomas Kyrö

  • Published: 06 Mar 2014
  • Price: £9.99
  • Format: B Format Hardback
  • Extent: 224p
  • ISBN: 978-1-78072-164-4
  • Buy it now from
  • Buy it now from Waterstones

“There would certainly have been other alternatives; our hero could have stolen cars, salvaged the copper from telephone cables or sold his kidneys. But of all the bad offers, the one from Yegor Kugar was the best…”


Vatanescu, an impoverished Romanian construction worker, wants a future for himself and a pair of football boots for his son. So he decides to head north to a cold, dark country where there is money to be made. Finding his way to Finland, he takes up with Russian human trafficker Yegor Kugar and joins the bottom rung of a begging ring. Before long Vatanescu is on the streets of Helsinki, earning a small percentage on spare change.

But Yegor – a crook interested only in status and screwing – has strict views on what it means to be a beggar, and when Vatanescu enjoys a sumptuous feast from the contents of a dumpster, a conflict ensues. Soon he is on the run from both an international crime organisation and the Finnish police.

Striking up a friendship with a fellow outcast, a hare fleeing Helsinki pest control, Vatanescu travels the length and breadth of Finland, crashing into other people’s lives, fumbling his way from the streets into the upper echelons of Finnish politics…

This strange, compelling fable about Europe, capitalism and the human heart is unlike anything else you will ever read…


A book about finding our place in a world of social security numbers, immigration, politics and social media – told with acerbic humour but, above all, a positive spirit.

“This book has a warmth, heart and humour that inspires, a firm touch on the European state of mind and European state of play, and more than enough to say about the ways of the world and their ills… as bizarre and unique as it sounds the manner of the story is eminently readable and accessible.”
– Bookbag

“At once humorous and deeply movingThe Beggar and the Hare is a modern tour de force.”

Witty and entertaining… an assured and beguilingly-told modern fable.
– Booktrust

“I absolutely loved it. Funny, dark, and wonderfully absurd.”
– Amy McDonald, Waterstones Leeds

“What a lovely, lovely book this is. An absolutely endearing quirky story.”
– Becky Vowls @redcelia, A Bookworm UK, Waterstones Bedford

“A modern re-telling of The Year of the Hare… Very good. Very.”
– Baxter Belgravia @BaxterPicks, Belgravia Books

“We’re adoring The Beggar and the Hare!!!”
– Blackwell’s Fiction @BroadFiction

“An entertaining and endearing read.”
– Claudia Sunderhauf, Waterstones Edinburgh Ocean Terminal

“If The Hundred Year Old Man… became such bestseller, it’s all reason for The Beggar & the Hare to be one too! Way better!
– Josephine d’Or @JosephyneT, Waterstones High Street Kensington

“An interesting little book but a very enjoyable one. I really didn’t expect to be taken on such a roller coaster ride and neither did I expect to laugh quite as much as I did. Thoroughly enjoyable.”
– Lee, Goodreads

“A deceptively simple story with serious heart and moral integrity. A plea for a better world.”
–Waterstones Kingston, @WstonesKingston


About Tuomas Kyrö

Tuomas Kyrö is one of the new voices in Finnish literature whose talents were first showcased in his debut novel, Leather Jacket (Nahkatakki). Kyrö draws on the long tradition of Finnish prose to tell compelling, even tragic stories with great authority. He is also a prolific cartoonist and columnist.