Clever but not Captivating: The Rabbit Back Literature Society

The Rabbit Back Literature SocietyThe Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen

I love Pushkin Press and was thrilled to see them publish a Finnish novel in translation.

The Rabbit Back Literature Society is an exclusive club in the town of Rabbit Back. Children’s author Laura White selects and trains the members who all become exceptional authors. Language teacher Ella is delighted to become the tenth member but her admission into the society makes her aware of murder and mayhem. Can she get to the bottom of Laura White’s disappearance from the winter party?

First Impressions: I liked the character of Ella and I liked the way the author included lots of irrelevant detail about different characters and events such as Ella’s barren ovaries. (This is revealed the first page or two, it’s not a spoiler!).

Highlights: I liked the way the fantasy elements were like blurred edges around the story. Blink and you miss them. Fantasy for non-fantasy reading adults.

If I was an editor: I would wish I cared more for the mysteries of Laura White and her Society. I didn’t dislike reading this novel but I didn’t find the elusiveness of Laura White (Tove Jansson?) particularly compelling. Most of the information was revealed through exposition which can become a bit boring. At one point it did seem that the plot was going to become a murder mystery but that only seemed to raise my hopes. I had also hoped for a stronger Finnish setting as so few contemporary Finnish novels are translated into English.

Overall: A clever novel with an original plot but I did not find it as captivating as I had hoped.

The Rabbit Back Literature Society: 3 Stars

 

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