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The Rabbit Back Literature Society

by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen X
The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2015
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Pamela H. (Winston Salem, NC)

"Read Me"
Follow Ella on a delightful, magical mystery tour through the warren of Rabbit Back Literature Society, where she encounters a party of quirky characters, who are not what they seem. She becomes curiouser and curiouser , as she struggles to discover the truth about the society, and herself in a world populated with Finnish folklore, punctuated by stark reality.
Power Reviewer
Portia A. (Mount Laurel, NJ)

A very strange book
If you love Lewis Carrol or Jasper Fford you will like this book. No doubt it is more than a little strange and, and at times weird. Maybe I'm also strange and a bit weird because I really enjoyed reading it. The translation is good and the Finnish references are very interesting. However if you want a straightforward plot, this is not your book.
Robert Solomon

Fantasy and Mystery in a Single Delicious Serving
TRBLS is a captivating suspenseful blend of Finnish mythology, mystery and fantasy. The plot is unusual and creative and the characters are well drawn.
In short, the novel is the story of the pursuit by a young woman, Ella, of the deepest secrets of the Rabbit Back Literature Society. The RBLS was the creation of heralded Finnish children's book author Laura White in whom Ella had an academic fascination. Over a span of years early in her career Laura recruited a small group of children mostly from her village of Rabbit Back to the Society. Laura identified the children as possessing extraordinary writing skills, and they all developed into promising authors.

Laura controls the children as a svelgali, and the Society takes on the trappings of a cult. As the story unfolds Laura comes to know the darkest corners of the Society's history and of the relationships between Laura and the members and the members with each other. Along the way we meet water sprites, gnomes, book viruses and a phantom who all contribute to the fusion between fantasy and reality, between dreams and life.

The prose is thoughtfully crafted which one can assume is a tribute to both the author and translator. The narrative invokes suspense, fear, pity and wonder... and prompts a few laughs along the way with a dose of campiness. Ella is brought to life with insightful self-reflection, and the physical elements of the narrative are so vividly described as to create a picture in the mind's eye. The descriptions of the winter scenes in and around Rabbit Back are particularly well crafted.

The plot has many twists and turns, and as the end of the book approaches there remain a number of hanging threads. Some of these threads are resolved in the surprising climax, but not all. At one level this lack of closure is unsettling, but more importantly the author has invited the reader's imagination to roam on the dynamic narrative landscape that he has created.

A book about books, authors and writing, TRBLS would be an excellent selection for book communities populated by serious adventuresome readers. Not so good for casual readers.
Sarah B. (Streamwood, IL)

Interesting
This is a fantastical mystery of sorts. I enjoyed much of this story. The bits of folklore, and the setting especially. This is definitely a winter book for me due to the atmosphere. The characters were not overly likable. I'd recommend this to anyone that enjoys Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series.
Theresa D. (Amityville, NY)

PLEASANT SURPRISE!
I usually don't like Fantasies or Mysteries - and this book was a little of both. However, I do like books and libraries and that's what I liked about The Rabbit Back Literature Society. In some ways it was very whimsical and at other times it was very tender. The mystery portion carried me along so that I could not put it down. Although some happenings were never explained you have to believe that the Society was very effective. Give it a try!
Mark O. (Wenatchee, WA)

Where do writers get their ideas?
The Rabbit Back Literature Society is like reading a slightly disturbing dream. Upon waking, there are some ingenious notions to capture in the bedside notebook but enough grotesqueries to hope for a nicer dream next time.

The main characters are each an archeology project, the ages of their lives revealed by the digging of the protagonist, Ella. Ella considers a camera that could capture a person's "entire chronological existence."

The book has a winter feel to it: lots of snow, a cold-hearted psychological game, and white as a color composed of myths.

Most of the plot strands tie together at the end. One surprise seems so right that it warms the entire book.
Barbara C. (Fountain hills, AZ)

The Rabbit Back Literataure Society
If you like quirky, mysterious, unconventional, disturbing books with undertones of magical realism you will like this book. RBLS is a book for book lovers and thinkers. It is not a book for readers who like linear plots and conventional characters. If you like books with wrapped-up conclusions and all the questions answered you will not like this book.Where do writers get ideas for their stories? Are fairytales really horror stories? Could you "spill" all the deepest, darkest, most intimate details of your life to virtual strangers, strangers who do not have your best interests at hear? There is no sense of place in this book, even though you know it was written in Finnish and translated. The "heroine", Ella seems like a vehicle to transport the reader into this bizarre world of books and authors rather than a fully developed character. Did I like this book? It kept me reading through to the end to find answers to the questions of why did the books mysteriously change plot, and where did Laura White go, and who wrote the notebook. But It left me unsatisfied as to the answers, or non-answers, but thinking about the life lessons it contained.
Courtney N. (Chicago, IL)

Quirky and Fun
I have to admit, I was interested in this book from page one. It's a little scifi, a little literature, and a little mystery. However, it's extremely hard to review without giving away some of the plot. I enjoyed getting to know all of the quirky characters but wish that a little bit more was explained in the end. It felt to me that only one mystery was solved and the rest just were left alone. Maybe it means there will be a second book, but it seemed a bit Woman or the Tiger to me.
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