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The Rabbit Back Literature Society by [Jaaskelainen, Pasi Ilmari]
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The Rabbit Back Literature Society Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Length: 352 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description


‘[The Rabbit Back Literature Society] Mixes the small-town surrealism of Twin Peaks with the clandestine-society theme of Donna Tartt's The Secret History’ The List

‘Unnerving, enigmatic... Hints of Let the Right One In and Haruki Murakami's elliptical early science fiction novels flavour a creepy tale about mutating books, buried secrets and ghostly encounters’ - James Lovegrove, Financial Times

‘Wonderfully knotty... a very grown-up fantasy masquerading as quirky fable. Unexpected, thrilling and absurd’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Charming, chilling and gripping from its very first page’ Bizarre

‘Sly wit... characterises The Rabbit Back Literature Society’ Metro

‘Charming and intriguing, switching from playful to creepy to heartfelt and back again... good fun’ The Bookbag

‘The Rabbit Back Literature Society is a lobster pot of a book... an exquisite balance of suspense, precision-engineered structure and darkly playful humour... fascinating. And fun.’ 5-star review, SFX

‘A novel about big questions ... wonderful characters... amazing’ TQR Stories

About the Author

Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, born in 1966, is one of Finland's best-kept secrets. A novelist and short-story writer, he is well known for his fantasy and sci-fi narratives and has twice won the Kuvastaja Fantasy Prize given by Finland's Tolkien Society and four times won the Atorax Award for Fantasy. He teaches Finnish language and literature and is the father of three sons.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1020 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pushkin Press (21 Nov. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FIP8Y6O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #62,640 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ann Fairweather TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Dec. 2013
Format: 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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Some parts of this book are good, some parts of it bad. The writing is at times delightful, but at others focuses on irrelevances. My main problem is that it contains about a thousand of Chekhov's guns ("If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there.").

Whilst I do enjoy the magic realism at play, the author seems unsure of how far to go with it, to the point that pretty much everything of interest in the book might be 'real' or might be fantastical. This can sometimes work, with unreliable narrators and differing points of view leaving you with an open ending that you have to fill in yourself, but for me this just goes too far, despite the attempt to suddenly wrap everything up in the epilogue (which is really not an epilogue at all, but a continuation of the story to an ending).

All in all, I was entertained, and expecting to give 4 stars, but the ending didn't really seem to know where it wanted to land with regards to the fantasy aspects, and the final 'reveal' didn't really work for me.

Others clearly enjoyed this more than me, though, so if you like quirky literary tales it might be for you. The ride is certainly entertaining, even if I found the destination slightly unfulfilling.
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This book is a culture shock. It revels in being cold and alien, but would be shocked, in a way, that you would think that mattered. It's very self-indulgent, with a nested structure that genuinely makes you feel like the book is ignoring you, only listening to itself. But since the theme of voyeurism is so central to it, it's as if you couldn't get this story if you didn't feel like you were eavesdropping on it.

There's a point where one character plans to write a novel, "respectful of the realistic tradition of Finnish literature." You can feel the snigger of the author as you read it. It might be the nicest bit of satire written in a very long time. This book is equal parts magic and brutal honesty, speculating wildly about how unfantastic our lives really are. It's genuinely frightening in places but ends with almost saccharine generosity. I found it hard to dislike a word of it. Bring me another.
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Finnish writer Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen has written a creepily seductive, thought provoking, alluring and wickedly mischievous book, which might have special appeal for writers, since writers, aspiring and world famous, and the nature of fiction itself, is the subject matter.

Books have started to mysteriously change in Rabbit Back, a small town in Finland. Rabbit Back is also home to a world famous children's writer, Laura White, who writes children's' books about a dark and mysteriously peopled world. Inevitably, being a world famous Finnish children's' author writing about invented, strange creatures which have a fascination for adults as well as children, there are obvious possible parallels that Tove Jansson may have been the initial inspiration for Jaaskelainen.

Laura White, it transpires, gathered around her a group of children, with the aim of grooming them into becoming writers. All are now grown, and famous authors in their own right.

However...there was a dark mystery behind Laura White's creation of the Rabbit Back Literature Society, and its small, select recruited members. And the group also have an arcane, and somewhat deadly practice - The Game, which has evolved over the years, and exists for a set purpose of furthering the craft, practice and ritual of writing itself.

The membership of the society has been restricted to 9, for many decades. Until a young teacher, with a recently published story, is invited by White to become the tenth member. Ella Milana, as well as becoming the newest member of the Society, is a keen literary researcher, and has discovered the strange changes appearing in classic texts.
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