I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I’m a big fan of authors like Terry Pratchet, Robert Rankin, Jasper Fforde, and Tom Holt. Books written within the realms of the ridiculous, that make me smile, definitely get my vote. So when a new book by Jasper fforde comes out, about a society of anthropomorphised rabbits, I’m definitely on board.
The premise is really interesting. Decades ago an unexplained event led to a bunch of rabbits morphing into humanoid form. They’re still rabbits in essence, but just the size of humans and with the ability of human speech. Well these rabbits bred like the proverbial rabbit, and cut to present day where there are millions of anthropomorphised rabbits living in Britain. Still being the ‘sub-species’ though they live and work in a lesser capacity than most humans.
This book is a very intricately woven story about the prejudices that the rabbits face, their efforts to overcome it, and their ultimate acceptance that things are never going to change.
You’re trying to run a twenty first century world on Palaeolithic thoughts and sentimentsThe Constant Rabbit
Interspersed with the usual Fforde humour, where Humans are often referred to as ‘Fudds’ (a reference to Elmer Fudd), and a detailed description of the ‘Beatrix potter’ clothing range. There are also some harsh ‘close to the bone’ observations. Our protagonist works for a certain government department as a ‘spotter’, his job is to go through the database and identify certain rabbits. It’s a special skill, as to most humans, ‘All rabbits look the same’.
‘As you can see’ said Doc, ‘rabbits talk truthfully about most things. Life is too short for hidden agendas, vapid posturing and mendacity’.The Constant Rabbit
At a time when the subject of racism is very much in the forefront of everyones minds and in the news every day, this is an interesting book. He’s not making light of the subject of racism, far from it. His jibes are more at the state of the UK and it’s various political and ethical issues.
For example, in the book there is a group called ‘TwoLegsGood’ a supremacist factor. This group, on finding out that a certain rabbit has committed an act that THEY consider a crime, drag him from his house in the middle of the night and ‘jug’ him! This involves upending him in a forty-gallon drum of cheap gravy that had been seasoned with bay leaves, celery, thyme, juniper berries and red wine (I see you smiling there!) It is later discovered to be a case of mistaken identity with TwoLegsGood showing no remorse, under the presumption he’s a rabbit and is bound to be guilty of something.
Now take out the fact the victim is a rabbit and the drum is filled with cheap seasoned gravy, and it’s not so funny anymore, it’s actually a serious and reprehensible crime.
That is the beauty of satire and the genius of this book.
A well thought out piece of satiric writing tackling the ‘hot potato’ subject of race. A light-hearted read with a serious message.
Without rabbits to be the focus of his hatred, Nigel Smethwick directed his ire at ‘anyone different’ and the followers of UKARP followed suit, using a simple word substitution to change their party constitution and mission statement quickly and efficientlyThe Constant Rabbit