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The Constant Rabbit, by Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde was a new author to me, and I would not normally have been drawn to this book – it was a book club choice. I must admit even the cover put me off and it took me a while to start reading it after having bought it. Having said that, I did enjoy the book overall, particularly its satirical view of society and politics.

The ability to suspend logic would benefit the reader as I did struggle a bit with the idea of anthropomorphised characters. They can walk, talk and drive cars, the result of an inexplicable anthropomorphising event fifty-five years ago. Of course, maybe it’s just that I don’t have a very good imagination unlike the author. You could perhaps see it as a grown -up version of Peter Rabbit but much more thought provoking. Moral dilemmas are brought sharply to life often using humour. The narrative is well constructed and doesn’t hold back on some graphic descriptions of cruelty.

The story focuses on Peter Knox and his daughter who live in a small English village. Their lives are disrupted when an anthropomorphised rabbit called Constance and her family move into the village. Peter knew Constance years ago when she was allowed to attend university. This privilege and many others have since been withdrawn due to changing cultural attitudes within the ruling human population. The United Kingdom Anti-Rabbit Party, who hold power, are also about to undertake the biggest change to the rabbit population by moving them all to a so-called Mega-Warren in Wales. Other species including foxes that have been anthropomorphised also feature in the book. These characters definitely add to the questions and dilemmas that the book highlights. On-line reviewers who enjoyed the book have a mixed reaction to the ending, but I’ll let you make up your own mind.

Reviewed by a library member.