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The Rabbit Back Literature Society Hardcover – January 20, 2015
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“A voyeuristic literary mystery with bits of Blue Velvet and shades of The Shadow of the Wind.” ―Tor.com
“Jääskeläinen does an exceptional job creating a densely mysterious setting, then takes his time teasing out a mystery here, an odd occurrence there, guiding the reader into a positively creeped-out state of mind without ever spelling anything out as scary: more ‘Sleepy Hollow' than a straight murder story.” ―A.V. Club
“An intricately quirky look beneath the surface of a small town and the successes of the literary minds that put it on the map. It is complex and ambiguous and very, very good.” ―The Maine Edge
“Twin Peaks meets the Brothers Grimm.” ―The Telegraph (UK)
“Mixes the small-town surrealism of Twin Peaks with the clandestine-society theme of Donna Tartt's The Secret History.” ―The List (UK)
“Unnerving, enigmatic….Hints of Let the Right One In and Haruki Murakami's elliptical early science fiction novels flavor a creepy tale about mutating books, buried secrets and ghostly encounters.” ―Financial Times (UK)
“An exquisite balance of suspense, precision-engineered structure and darkly playful humour… fascinating. And fun” ―SFX (UK)
“Charming and intriguing, switching from playful to creepy to heartfelt and back again…. Good fun.” ―Bookbag (UK)
“A novel about big questions … wonderful characters…. Amazing.” ―TQR Stories (UK)
“Sly wit also characterizes The Rabbit Back Literature Society, a genre-defying Finnish novel.” ―Metro (UK)
“Charming, chilling and gripping from its very first page.” ―Bizarre (UK)
“Were you hooked on Twin Peaks? A secret fan of Northern Exposure? Obsessed with Fargo (the movie, not the TV series, naturally)? Then The Rabbit Back Literature Society has got your name written all over it.” ―Harper's Bazaar (UK)
“Jääskeläinen has created a puzzle box of a book that touches on the seeds of creativity, the corrosive qualities of convenient lies, and the fictions that our own memories construct and present as fact. It doesn't answer every question it poses or every mystery it presents, but that's half the point. The Rabbit Back Literature Society is an easy enough read, but a rather more difficult think. The reader will find themselves wandering the byways of the little town of Rabbit Back for a long while afterward.” ―Jonathan L. Howard, author of the Johannes Cabal series
“Enchanting, mysterious, and beguiling, The Rabbit Back Literature Society blurs the boundary between reality and mythology until it vanishes like the skyline in a snow-storm.” ―Mike Shevdon, author of Sixty-One Nails
“Fiendishly clever and great fun! The Rabbit Back Literature Society mixes the cruelty, humor and wonder of a classic fairy tale with the challenges, competition and mundane needs of modern life -- especially the creative ambitions and need for approval that drive us from childhood on. A must for writers of any genre!” ―Karen Engelmann, author of The Stockholm Octavo
“The Rabbit Back Literature Society is part mystery, part literary-world satire, part ghost story, part fairy tale, but throughout this clever and captivating novel, Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen reminds us of the real spookiness of the act of writing.” ―Emily Croy Barker, author of The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic
“The novel gives a compelling view of the strangeness that lurks beneath the most ‘normal' places and people, and it draws on elements of myth, fairy tale and ghost story to increase the scary factor…Jääskeläinen hits the right creepy note to make the hairs on the neck stand up…read with all the lights on!” ―Kirkus Reviews
“With an uncanny understanding of authorial insecurities and a freakishly honed sense of the supernatural origin of literary inventiveness, acclaimed Finnish novelist Jääskeläinen eerily explores the nature of creative inspiration, incisively exposes writers' desperate aspirations, and suggestively unveils the price one pays to have one's dreams fulfilled.” ―Booklist
About the Author
Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen is well known in his native Finland 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 Atorox Award for Fantasy. He teaches Finnish language and literature and is the father of three sons.
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The way it was described, I was expecting a thriller that will make your toes curl. Murder, mystery and suspense were all things I was waiting for. Unfortunately, although there was mystery, and an alleged murder/disappearance, there was very little suspense to make your toes curl.
The Rabbit Back Literature Society is about a very secretive and important society of the best writers in Rabbit Back. They consist of 9 members, never picking the 10th member before - until Ella. Ella is a literature substitute teacher who lives at home with her mother and peculiar dad. After a series of strange and not so important events, Ella is picked to be the 10th member of this elite Society. However, before she can truly become a member, her welcome party is attacked by a bizarre snow storm of sorts, in which Laura White, the head of the Society, disappears. Ella begins to understand that all is not as it seems in this Society, and wants to find out where Laura disappeared to and why.
So begins a series of interviews with the rest of the Society members, who obviously have a lot hidden and Ella starts to uncover that a 10th member did exist at one time many years ago. She tries to figure out what happened to him and after weeks and months of this, Laura is assumed dead, and Ella believes that this boy may have been murdered.
It's a good book, an interesting story, but not what I expected going into it. It is well written though, and I did want to know what happened to that little boy who disappeared and Laura White. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a lot of loose ends left unresolved, but overall an entertaining book.
Ella Milana is originally from Rabbit Back and is now back home taking a substitute teacher position after going to school for literary history focusing mainly on Laura White the author of the Creatureville series and the founder of the Rabbit Back Literature Society. While there she connected strongly to her favorite professor also a devotee of Laura White. When Ella gets asked to be a member of the society the story picks up again and starts the real questions in the book.
We learn the some of the deepest secrets of the society ones they want to keep buried far under ground. At the same time though Ella discovers a way that she can get the interviews and to make sure that the authors do not lie to her. It is a privilege of the society that they can play “The Game” where they spill anything that is asked of them without any lying or metaphor. Only the truth stripped down to the basic words. “The Game” is probably my favorite part of the book and the best device to move the story along in a group of authors who do not speak to one another.
Jääskaläinen is a clever writer and shows us a look at a society that might not be everything it claims and holds some secrets that the reader will beg to discover. He slowly teases out the answers or lets the reader decide the true fate of the mystery. Which one is it is left up to the imagination and the reader can fill in the blanks. I was taken into this world and did not want it to end but I found that I was okay with not knowing every answer to the mysteries it was a good metaphor that the reader can never know the full view but only a portion at a time. Give it a shot if you like the idea of a secret society for authors and wanting to know their secrets.