Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, Translated by Lola M Rogers

Blurb from Goodreads:
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. . . . 

In Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen’s chilling, darkly funny novel, The Rabbit Back Literature Society, praised as "Twin Peaks meets the Brothers Grimm" (The Telegraph), the uncanny brushes up against the everyday in the most beguiling and unexpected of ways. 
My Review:
Wow!  This book was incredibly unique and dark.  I will admit that I was drawn to this book by its cover and its Finnish origins.  I love Scandinavian books -- they usually involve a murder or mystery and are so dark and stark, at times.  That being said, I wasn't sure what to expect and I'm actually glad that I read it without expectations.  Translations can always be a bit tricky but the words in this book felt great and nothing seemed like a confusing or inaccurate translation.  

I really liked the character of Ella -- she had a moral compass and even if no one else agreed with it, she was true to herself.  There is a lot of depth into the trope of art for art's sake in this book -- I appreciated the moral dilemma of the lengths people go to in order to create art (to write) and whether the art is a justification.

I would recommend this to fans of Maggie Stiefvater (at times I was reminded of The Raven Boys) or anyone that likes Scandinavian literature and mysteries.  You will not be disappointed!

She'd read more than was healthy, hundreds of books every year. Some of them she read twice, or even three times, before returning them. Some of them she would check out again after letting them sink in a while. She'd thought at the time that books were at their best when you'd read them two or three times.

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