The Constant Rabbit: Book summary and reviews of The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde

The Constant Rabbit

by Jasper Fforde

The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde X
The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde
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Book Summary

A new stand-alone novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Early Riser and the Thursday Next series.

England, 2022. There are 1.2 million human-size rabbits living in the UK. They can walk, talk, drive cars, and they like to read Voltaire, the result of an Inexplicable Anthropomorphizing Event fifty-five years before.

A family of rabbits is about to move into Much Hemlock, a cozy little village in Middle England where life revolves around summer fetes, jam making, gossipy corner stores, and the oh-so-important Best Kept Village awards.

No sooner have the rabbits arrived than the villagers decide they must depart, citing their propensity to burrow and breed, and their shameless levels of veganism. But Mrs Constance Rabbit is made of sterner stuff, and her and her family decide they are to stay. Unusually, their neighbors--longtime resident Peter Knox and his daughter, Pippa--decide to stand with them...and soon discover that you can be a friend to rabbits or humans, but not both.

With a blossoming romance, acute cultural differences, enforced rehoming to a MegaWarren in Wales, and the full power of the ruling United Kingdom Anti-Rabbit Party against them, Peter and Pippa are about to question everything they had ever thought about their friends, their nation, and their species.

An inimitable blend of satire, fantasy, and thriller, The Constant Rabbit is the latest dazzlingly original foray into Jasper Fforde's ever-astonishing creative genius.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[W]onderfully absurd...An astonishingly well-crafted work of social and political satire." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Amid a rapid-fire barrage of literary allusions, Fforde displays his signature quick wit on a furious tour through modern British right-wing politics. Playful, biting, and timely, this is a must-read." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The message can be a bit heavy-handed but is still wrapped in the author's trademark sense of wry humor and sarcastic wit. Recommended for readers who have already fallen in love with this author, and libraries where his works are popular." - Library Journal

"The Constant Rabbit is Jasper Fforde's most chilling and realistic book yet...Fun and slightly bonkers...Fforde's love of wordplay, cultural references and silliness shines through in every sentence." - The Guardian

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Reader Reviews

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Cloggie Downunder

Smart and inventive, another thought-provoking and entertaining read.
The Constant Rabbit is a novel by Welsh author, Jasper Fforde. The 2020 United Kingdom that Fforde describes to the reader is very much an alternate one where, fifty-five years earlier, a Spontaneous Anthropomorphic Event transformed a selection of animals into human-sized, talking, walking, thinking creatures.

In the British Isles, the most numerous are now rabbits, who prove to be peaceable and hard-working. It takes a good deal of world-building to make a tale like this work, but anyone who has read his books knows that this is something at which Fforde is highly skilled.

Even though Peter Knox works at the Rabbit Compliance Taskforce detecting rabbits attempting identity fraud, he’s not anti-rabbit like some of his colleagues, who are just a shade off hominid supremacists. But his favourable treatment of a doe rabbit borrower at the village library has been noted by the right-wing village elders. He recognises Constance Rabbit from their casual friendship at college decades-earlier, before rabbits were banned.

The ruling UK Anti-Rabbit Party is pressing for their “humane” solution, Rehoming the rabbits from their established colonies to a MegaWarren in Wales, and their campaign to subvert the Rabbit Underground sees a very reluctant Peter plucked from his office job into active Ops, tracking down a suspected rabbit operative. His last experience on Ops had ended very badly.

To unsettle him even further, the vacant house next door is suddenly occupied by Major Clifford and Mrs Constance Rabbit and their two children. While Peter tries to deal with his re-emerging attraction to his new neighbour, his scary boss wants him to infiltrate, suspecting connections to the Rabbit Underground, while the village council wants the rabbits out of Much Hemlock.

What follows for Peter is a wild ride that includes being challenged to a duel, a graffitied garage door, getting drunk on dandelion brandy, being charged with murder, physical mutilation, prison time, wearing a wire, and slicing a lot of cucumbers. Of prison, he says: “In a turnabout that no-one expected after the crash of 2008, the second-largest group in prison after rabbits was now sociopathic investment bankers, corrupt representatives of ratings companies and dodgy corporate accountants.”

Readers from Goulburn NSW might be quite delighted to find that their Big Merino also exists in Fforde’s world, if by a different origin. As always, Fforde manages to include a generous helping of over-the-top English-sounding place names, typically useless government departments with all their annoyingly abbreviated titles, plenty of poli-speak and silly character names.

Fforde gives the reader a heavily satirical social commentary that takes aim at propaganda, conspiracy theories, xenophobia, right-wing politics and detention centres, to name but a few. He even lets a character muse that satire might “provoke a few guffaws but only low to middling outrage – but is couped with more talk and no action. A sort of … empty cleverness.” Smart and inventive, another thought-provoking and entertaining read.

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Author Information

Jasper Fforde Author Biography

Jasper Fforde was born in London on January 11, 1961. His father was a prominent economist, while his mother did charity work and was a passionate reader. Fforde and his four siblings were raised in London and Wales. At the age of twelve Fforde was sent to Dartington Hall School, a progressive coeducational boarding school near Totnes, Devon, which he attended until his graduation in 1979.

As a child, he shared his mother's love of reading, and by the age of eleven, had become quite interested in film and television. While the young Fforde liked to watch Monty Python, he was particularly influenced by a commercial he saw for milk starring actor Roger Moore. It showed what happened behind the scenes on a production set, and this commercial inspired Fforde's aspirations as a movie ...

... Full Biography
Author Interview
Link to Jasper Fforde's Website

Name Pronunciation
Jasper Fforde: Ford

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