Part of the joy in reading comes from perspectives: from the author, from the characters they create, and even their cultural differences. Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen has created a story that, at the outset, feels very light and fun, but not unlike the more sanitized stories from the Brothers Grimm, hold a darker edge just below that surface. A story that is almost pure magical realism in feel, there is a touch of mystery and some psychological games mixed in the twisty plot.
The Rabbit Back Literature Society:
Rabbit Back is a small Finnish town, where all is not as it seems. A small literary society, always numbering 9 until this story, is comprised of well-known children’s authors. A gathering party is held to welcome the new 10th member Ella, the first in years. Ella is unusual in the group: firstly she has only written one short story, but that she is convinced there is a mystery around the group.
With a disappearing member, a book ‘plague’ that causes the contents of previously published works to alter, Ella is discovering that there are many layers to the members and secrets in Rabbit Back. With members required to divulge their innermost secrets, multiple characters telling their stories, and the addition of several surrealist dreams, there is no lack of input to keep a reader wondering.
There were many elements to keep straight in this story, fortunately the ride was a fun one where they all started to fall into place reasonably early. The prose and descriptions are lovely, with a sense of foreboding that is offset by lighter moments from pure silliness to the descriptions of place. The writing was very smooth and polished, with the exception of some repetitive moments. Translation for this story was provided by Lola Rogers, and having read several translated works there was no stilted feel to the translation that can happen when elements unique to a world or culture are translated from the original.
Take a chance to immerse yourself in the world of Rabbit Back, it was a fun journey with plenty to recommend.
Title: The Rabbit Back Literature Society
Author: Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
Genre: Literary Fiction
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Published on: 21 November 2013
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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Only nine people have ever been chosen by renowned children’s author Laura White to join the Rabbit Back Literature Society, an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a tenth member has been selected: a young literature teacher named Ella.
Soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual known as "The Game"? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura White’s winter party? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves? Was there once another tenth member, before her? Slowly, as Ella explores the Society and its history, disturbing secrets that had been buried for years start to come to light. . . .
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.