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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Singular gem from Finland
This is perhaps one of the weirdest, strangest book I have read in a long time. Captivating, hypnotic nearly, I was from the start hooked on the peculiar story of books borrowed from Rabbit Back town's library, with oddly changed plotline in them, such as classics like Crime and Punishment. Ella, the heroine, is so puzzled that she quietly starts her inquest into what is...
Published 7 months ago by Ann Fairweather

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3.0 out of 5 stars This book was okay. It had interesting characters and ...
This book was okay. It had interesting characters and the plot was quite original, but it dragged on a bit.
Published 15 days ago by Ali G


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Singular gem from Finland, 9 Dec 2013
By 
Ann Fairweather (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Rabbit Back Literature Society (Paperback)
This is perhaps one of the weirdest, strangest book I have read in a long time. Captivating, hypnotic nearly, I was from the start hooked on the peculiar story of books borrowed from Rabbit Back town's library, with oddly changed plotline in them, such as classics like Crime and Punishment. Ella, the heroine, is so puzzled that she quietly starts her inquest into what is going on behind the scenes at the library. But soon, at the time of her father's death, she is made the tenth member of the secret club of Rabbit Back literature Society. Laura White is the adored but elusive president of the Society and at the celebration evening of the Tenth member, she simply vanishes in the midst a snow storm. What happened to Laura White is then the on-going mystery...But there is a lot of mysteries to unveil as Ella tried to discover the dark truth behind the elitist little society of the other nine writers and what exactly is 'The Game' about...This is a totally bizarre, striking and riveting book, with a very Finnish atmosphere, not unlike the odd Moomins books. It talks about the mystery of writing, how vampirish writers have to be, sucking out all material possible from around them, but the style is strongly evocative of fairy tales, dreams, myths. It is full of snow and long Nordic nights, and fabulously enjoyable...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant magical realism Finnish novel, 29 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Rabbit Back Literature Society (Paperback)
This book deserves much more glowing reviews, so here goes. This is a wonderful novel about is about literature, books, the Game, mythology and snow. It starts with aspiring author Ella Milana, who has lovely curving lips and defective ovaries. She is invited to join exclusive writers club, the Rabbit Back Literature Society, where she meets the other members, and plays the Game with them to find out their biggest secrets. In the meantime, Laura White, founder of the RBLS has vanished, and who was she anyway? Laura's novels about Creatureville are so popular people make mythological statues based on the characters, and mythological mapping.

Well, it does all make sense, in a surreal Finnish magical realism sense. And it's wonderful, give it a go.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing, clever and original idea, let down by end., 22 Mar 2014
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Took me a while to read and get into, but once you're a couple of chapters in, you're hooked. The writing was just stunning, the imagary wonderful, and the ideas clever. I loved the structure of the book, the idea of 'The Game', and the magical realism that you're never quite sure about. But the end was just...odd. Without giving anything away, the book could either have ended at the last chapter, without the epilogue, or could have done to have been at least 1/3 longer. The epilogue felt rushed, out of pace, and as though the author was just trying to tie everything up neatly in a bow, using deus ex, and some silly last minute misleading prose,that just have the book an oddly deflating and unsatisfying ending. For such a beautiful book, the writing and structure of the end saddened and disappointed me. A missed shot, I feel.
I will look forward to what Jaaskelainen writes in the future and hope future books are a little better paced.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 12 April 2014
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I rarely write reviews, but this is such a wonderfully different book that I know I will read again and find things that I missed. Worth a read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bequiling, 28 May 2014
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This is my first review.

You never really know what this book is about or why. You simply want to keep reading it because the prose is so beautiful and every sentence leads you deeper into a strange and wonderful world.

I totally loved reading this book, maybe I am a better person having read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure fantasy, 28 May 2014
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I loved this book, fantasy as I've never read it before. The secrets of the society are well kept, indeed... until there is a new and final member.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and magical., 2 May 2014
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Intriguing and sprinkled with magic, at times dark. A great read with a clever plot which will keep you amused right the way through.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something special, 10 Feb 2014
This review is from: The Rabbit Back Literature Society (Paperback)
The Rabbit Back Literature Society is something special. Originally published in 2006 it was translated from the Finnish by Lola M. Rogers. It's hard to judge how successful the translation is as I'm unfamiliar with both Finnish and Finnish literature and I don't know whether the translation has kept the rhythm and the beats of its original language. Unfamiliarity with the original language also makes it hard to judge some of the linguistic quirks of the novel as it's unclear whether things that bugged me were due to authorial choice or whether this is just a normal Finnish practice. One of the things that I really had to get used to was the fact that our protagonist, Ella is often referred to by not just her first and last name, but even by her full name, Ella Amanda Milana. This just felt strange to me and shook me out of the narrative a number of times at first.

Jääskeläinen gives us a fascinating narrative, which frames a mystery which is unravelled in sometimes almost dreamlike flashbacks related by the members of the Rabbit Back Society. These members run the gamut of genres and are all successful authors. Some of them receive more page time than others and not all the members spill as part of The Game, which is the way we get to know some of them better. The three other members, other than Ella, the reader gets to know well are Martti Winter the successful literary writer, Ingrid Katz, the YA writer, and Arne C. Ahlqvist a.k.a. Aura Jokinen, the SF writer. Through them we get glimpses of the legendary and mysterious Laura White and the genesis of the Rabbit Back Literary Society. I found their reminiscences fascinating and often chilling, but they always handed both Ella and the readers clues to solving the mystery of Laura White and the reputed first tenth member of the Society.

The Game the Society members play with each other is an interesting device, which allows Jääskeläinen to showcase the somewhat sinister undertones to the Society and give his protagonist a way to get to the bottom of the book's central mystery. It's also very much not a game and seeing the lengths they will go to in obtaining what they want can be somewhat disturbing. The book is also rather meta at some points, concerned as it is with writing and writers. However, it's also very much a literature scholar's narrative as Ella often approaches events from this angle and connections are drawn between books, authors and themes, all to aid Ella in solving the puzzle. The structure of the novel is interesting; the interweaving of third-person past and present, interleaved with first-person narration and fragments from newspaper articles, creates depth and background to the text without Ella or the narrator having to tell the reader things outright.

Jääskeläinen's book is more magical realist than straight-up fantasy, but I can see it appealing to those who like supernatural mysteries. I really enjoyed The Rabbit Back Literature Society. It was an interesting story, with some fascinating exploration of the human psyche and an intricate narrative structure. If you're looking for something speculative outside of the norm, then The Rabbit Back Literature Society comes highly recommended.

This book was provided for review by the publisher.
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2.0 out of 5 stars There may be connoisseurs out there who love this book, 14 July 2014
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I don't usually give up on books, but this was one. It starts slowly and seems to go nowhere. In the beginning it focuses on such a limited subject matter that it became so frustrating and I simply lost the will to live. There may be connoisseurs out there who love this book, but if you like some immediate interest look else where. I gave it two stars because I didn't finish the book and thought one star would be unduly harsh.
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3.0 out of 5 stars This book was okay. It had interesting characters and ..., 13 July 2014
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This book was okay. It had interesting characters and the plot was quite original, but it dragged on a bit.
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The Rabbit Back Literature Society
The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (Paperback - 21 Nov 2013)
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