A highly contagious book virus, a literary society and a Snow Queen-like disappearing author...
She came to realise that under one reality there's always another. And another one under that.
Only very special people are chosen by children's author Laura White to join 'The Society', an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a 10th member has been selected: Ella, literature teacher and possessor of beautifully curving lips.
But soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual, 'The Game'? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura's winter party, in a whirlwind of snow? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves? Was there once another 10th member, before her? Slowly, disturbing secrets that had been buried come to light....
In this chilling, darkly funny novel, the uncanny brushes up against the everyday in the most beguiling and unexpected of ways.
Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, born in 1966, is one of Finland's best-kept secrets. A novelist and short-story writer, he is well known for his fantasy and sci-fi narratives and has twice won the Kuvastaja Fantasy Prize given by Finland's Tolkien Society and four times won the Atorax Award for Fantasy. He teaches Finnish language and literature and is the father of three sons.
©2013 Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (P)2014 Audible Studios
"The Rabbit Back Literature Society Mixes the small-town surrealism of Twin Peaks with the clandestine-society theme of Donna Tartt's The Secret History’ The List Unnerving, enigmatic... Hints of Let the Right One In and Haruki Murakami's elliptical early science fiction novels flavour a creepy tale about mutating books, buried secrets and ghostly encounters" James Lovegrove, (Financial Times)
"Wonderfully knotty... a very grown-up fantasy masquerading as quirky fable. Unexpected, thrilling and absurd" (Sunday Telegraph)
"Charming, chilling and gripping from its very first page" (Bizarre)
"Sly wit... characterises The Rabbit Back Literature Society" (Metro)
"Charming and intriguing, switching from playful to creepy to heartfelt and back again... good fun" (The Bookbag)
"The Rabbit Back Literature Society is a lobster pot of a book... an exquisite balance of suspense, precision-engineered structure and darkly playful humour... fascinating. And fun." 5-star review, (SFX)
"A novel about big questions ... wonderful characters... amazing" (TQR Stories)
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"doesn't live up to the hype"
this book was good, not great. interesting concept. well written, sort of. there was not a lot there for me to grab onto or care about. the mystery at the heart of the story, never solved...so disappointing there. the magical realism in the story was cool, until it wasn't....because it went nowhere and kind of just made me ask more questions that were never answered.
i don't need all questions answered in a book. i'm not the "wrap this up and make everything happy" type of reader. but it would be nice to have SOME resolution. i felt that everything in this book just led to more questions and more and more and more. i feel like there were pieces of several different stories started in this book that weren't fleshed out, and therefor it they just lingered in my memory...with expectations of revisitation that were never fulfilled.
the violence in it was strange. i found it somewhat jarring in such a novel, but perhaps because it's not an American author there is something lost in translation? i mean, who twists someone's nose and/or cheek and or mouth until it bleeds while playing a "truth or truth" type game? Idk it seemed out of place.
there were a lot of interesting concepts in the story, but i'm just not 100% convinced the final execution was for me.
"Started out promising"
There were a lot of compelling elements to this book that could have been really interesting but anything that gave this story intrigue the author either never explained or the mystery ended up being the most mundane thing imaginable. I had to struggle to finish this only because I wanted to see how it would turn out, now I wish I hadn't, very disappointing. The performance was fine, nothing special, some of the voices were a bit awkward but no big deal.
"Terrible. Wish I could have that time back spent reading this."
I hope the story would pull together at the end, it didn't. Hoped I would care about any of the characters by the end, I didn't. Pointless storyline.
"Had some promise, came up short"
This has to have one of the best book jackets I've ever seen-- I skimmed the blurb and bought it immediately based on that summary and the cultural references. Yes, it does bring the surrealism of something like Twin Peaks, but in a very casual way that gets it off to a great start. But there's something about the lightness of the mystery here that never quite digs below the surface, leaving the whole story to feel a little flippant.
I also can't help feeling like there are some weird gender things at play here. The epilogue--and I'll avoid spoilers as best I can--came off as very out of character for our protagonist and a little squicky. The book, as a whole, left me feeling unsatisfied and a little uncomfortable.
literature viewed in a new light. interesting characters. a new way to look at life. I will try this author again.
when I started this book, I honestly didn't know what to expect. As i made my way through, I realized it's a sort of fairy tale/ suspense if that can be combine between two covers of a book. there were points I wish I had more or wish the author had taken it further but overall I liked it.
The author creates such a rich universe. Think a hybrid of Twin Peaks, Harry Potter, Philip Roth, and genuine originality.
Loved this. The bits about the game and spilling . . . what a delightful plot device. Dark, funny, and can't put it down interesting. Such good fun.
Overall I enjoyed this story, it's well written and has some interesting concepts and characters but it felt unresolved and although all the charcters were moved forward in their stories it dd not feel like the any of the bigger questions posed were answered. Despite this, the book's strengths are enough to recommend it. Kate Rawson also did a good job with the material and has a sweet voice.
"Quirky, enticing and unexpected."
I was not sure I would enjoy this and put it off for a while. I was delighted to be wrong. The Rabbit Back Literature Society is an exclusive group of writers, becomming a member is almost impossible. Ella Milano is the first new member in more than 20 years. But in a world of ice, snow and infectious books anything can happen and it does. The book charmed me, the brilliant and unexpected finale was the best.
"Abandoned halfway through"
No on both counts.
For a book about the magic in stories, and how they spill over into real life, the magic described in the book is strangely mundane. Dogs howl, books re-write themselves and something wicked lurks in the dark. That's about it. I think the character of Laura White is based on a Tove Jansson type author - but by comparison Jansson's work really was magical.
The narrator needs to learn more than one accent. Every other character sounds like they come from Devon.
There are some very funny, matter-of-fact lines, but too few and far between.
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