Title: The Constant Rabbit
Author: Jasper Fforde
What I Think So Far: Jasper Fforde’s latest book, The Constant Rabbit, offers readers an escapist novel that is smothered in both pure whimsy and wit. Set in the small fictional English village of Much Hemlock in 2020, The Constant Rabbit paints a clever and detailed picture of a modern Britain that stands divided on how to treat its population of rabbits. Fifty years prior to the events in the book, Britain experienced a mysterious event that spontaneously anthropomorphised a colony of rabbits, alongside a few foxes, some guinea pigs, a badger, and a dalmatian. Seeing as rabbits breed, well, like rabbits, the number of anthropomorphised rabbits in Britain climbed to approximately 1 million by the year 2020. The conservative government, headed by UKARP (United Kingdom Anti-Rabbit Party) views them as nothing more than crime-ridden burrowers and nuisances. However, the rabbits who identify as staunch pacifists, avid vegans, and passionate environmentalists have developed their own intricate culture and beliefs in the decades since their anthropomorphisation.
We see the worlds of the rabbits and Englishmen collide through the experiences of an undercover Rabbit Spotter, Peter Knox, an employee at the government’s Rabbit Taskforce Office. Knox finds his blind-sheep mentality failing to keep him content in his job after running into an old flame from university (prior to rabbits being banned from attending higher education institutions): Mrs. Constance Rabbit. Knox must navigate the moral and ethical ramifications of his job as the government’s plan to rehome the entire population of rabbits in Wales at the MegaWarren complex gains momentum. Initially, I expected the book to be a bit of a silly and light-hearted read, but what I found instead was a wonderfully told story that made me feel a bit like a kid again. Fforde has crafted his alternate Rabbit-filled Britain with immense care, and the book is absolutely brimming with so many amusing and clever details that I found myself eager to reread chapter headings and footnotes so as not to miss a thing!
Would I Recommend It? For those looking for a funny and witty book to sink their teeth into, I would definitely recommend it. The great thing about The Constant Rabbit is that even though it’s filled with thinly veiled political comparisons, it still feels as if you’re a little kid being read a fantastical book aloud that you can’t quite believe.
Words by Taylor Ogle
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