Excerpt from The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Constant Rabbit

by Jasper Fforde

The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde X
The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2020, 320 pages

    Sep 2021, 320 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Daniela Schofield
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Speed Librarying was also fast becoming a spectator sport - no TV rights offers yet, sadly, but there was usually a group of local onlookers at every Blitz, eager to offer us moral support and ensure that tea and seedcake and a rub-down with a towel would be forthcoming once the Blitz was over. Not all onlookers were so helpful. Norman and Victor Mallett were the de facto elders of the village, and dominated every committee from Parish Council to Steeple Fund to coordinating Much Hemlock's entry in the All Herefordshire Spick & Span Village Awards. They were not themselves huge fans of libraries, regarding them as 'just one more pointless drain on the nation's resources'.

They had turned up ostensibly to support the current Neville Chamberlain, who happened also to be Victor Mallett's wife, to complain bitterly about anything that contravened their narrow worldview - and for Norman to take possession of his reserved copy of The Glory and Triumph of the British Colonial System Illustrated.

At two minutes to opening Mr Churchill - in charge of extensions, audiobooks and swapping tired periodicals for slightly less tired periodicals - indicated she needed a toilet break and would be unlikely to return within fifteen minutes. This was unfortunate but not a fatal blow, as Mr Beeton, a long-standing friend and next-door neighbour, was my all-parts understudy.

'Can you do Churchill?' I asked.

'We shall never surrender,' said Mr Beeton with a grin before coughing a deep, rattly cough.

'Are you sure?' said Stanley Baldwin to me in a low voice. 'He doesn't look very well to me.'

'Mr Beeton is the picture of good health,' I said in a hopeful manner with little basis in reality: Mr Beeton had so many ailments that he was less of an elderly resident and more of a walking medical conundrum, the only two ailments which he had not suffered in his long life being tennis elbow and death.

So Mr Beeton-now-Winston Churchill dutifully took his place behind a wheelbarrow containing forty-six neatly stacked books all carefully sorted by shelf order for ease of return. I nodded to David Lloyd George to acknowledge the last-minute change in the team and she nodded in return as we saw the Sole Librarian approach the front door of the library and then check her watch to make sure she didn't open a second too early.

This was, in fact, crucial. There were two Herefordshire Library Opening Times Compliance Officers in attendance armed with clipboards and stopwatches, the pair funded at great expense by the Rural Library Strategic Group Vision Action Group, which now employed just under four thousand people, coincidentally the exact same number as the librarians whose continued employment had been deemed incompatible with UKARP's manifesto pledge.

I checked my watch.

'Little hand says it's time to rock and roll.'

The Sole Librarian threw the lock and the door swung open. We moved in with military-style precision, Winston Churchill pushing before him the wheelbarrow of books to be returned while Maggie Thatcher started the stopwatch.

'Good morning,' I said to the Sole Librarian.

'Good morning, Mr Major,' she returned in a sing-song tone. 'Will we hit our target today?'

'As easy as negotiating Maastricht,' I replied, trying to exude confidence when secretly I felt we would manage returns and loans, but fall short of our renewal and reserves target. The team swiftly moved to their allotted places: Mr Churchill, Mrs Thatcher and Stanley Baldwin went straight to the front desk and presented the books to the Sole Librarian. Within a few seconds a steady thump-thump-thump filled the air, demonstrating that work was very much in progress.

At the same time, David Lloyd George and Neville Chamberlain went rapidly down the aisles transferring the pre-ordered picks to a trolley ready to be brought to the front desk once the returns, extensions and reservations were completed - and once that was done,

Excerpted from The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde. Copyright © 2020 by Jasper Fforde. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

BookBrowse Sale!

Join BookBrowse and discover exceptional books for just $3/mth!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Wifedom
    by Anna Funder
    When life became overwhelming for writer, wife, and mother Anna Funder in the summer of 2017, she ...
  • Book Jacket: The Fraud
    The Fraud
    by Zadie Smith
    In a recent article for The New Yorker, Zadie Smith joked that she moved away from London, her ...
  • Book Jacket: Wasteland
    by Oliver Franklin-Wallis
    Globally, we generate more than 2 billion tons of household waste every year. That annual total ...
  • Book Jacket: Disobedient
    by Elizabeth Fremantle
    Born in Rome in 1593, Artemisia Gentileschi led a successful career as an artist throughout the ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Fair Rosaline
by Natasha Solomons
A subversive, powerful untelling of Romeo and Juliet by New York Times bestselling author Natasha Solomons.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The September House
    by Carissa Orlando

    A dream home becomes a haunted nightmare in this compulsively readable, twisty, and layered debut novel.

  • Book Jacket

    Digging Stars
    by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

    Blending drama and satire, Digging Stars probes the emotional universes of love, friendship, family, and nationhood.

Win This Book
Win Moscow X

25 Copies to Give Away!

A daring CIA operation threatens chaos in the Kremlin. But can Langley trust the Russian at its center?



Solve this clue:

A M I A Terrible T T W

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.