Summary and book 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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  • Published:
    Sep 2020, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Daniela Schofield
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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.

Speed Librarying

Somebody once said that the library is actually the dominant life form on the planet. Humans simply exist as the reproductive means to achieve more libraries.

'Still on the Westerns, Baroness Thatcher?' I asked, moving slowly down the line of volunteers who were standing at readiness outside our library, a smallish mock-mock-Tudor building in the middle of Much Hemlock, itself more or less in the middle of the county of Hereford, which in turn was pretty much in the middle of the UK.

Much Hemlock was, in pretty much every meaning of the word, middling.

'Westerns are the best when they're not really Westerns at all,' said Baroness Thatcher, 'like when more akin to the Greek Epics. True Grit, for example.'

'Shane is more my kind of thing,' said Stanley Baldwin, who I think fancied himself as a softly spoken man of understated power and influence. Winston Churchill opined they were both wrong and that The Ox-Bow Incident was far better with its generally positive themes of ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Throughout this allegoric whirlwind, Fforde proves himself a master satirist, striking poignant chords with dry wit and playfulness. The author's adroit storytelling presents the rabbits with both a familiarity and alienness through which to explore fear-driven discrimination, otherizing and prejudice. He weaves historic, cultural and political references throughout the novel, an effort that if done with less skill would have resulted in a clunky narrative. Yet the text is anything but weighty. Instead, it pulls the reader along through a self-aware tale, one that alludes to its own climax in a way that heightens momentum rather than spoiling it...continued

Full Review Members Only (962 words).

(Reviewed by Daniela Schofield).

Media Reviews

The Guardian (UK)
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.

Library Journal
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.

Booklist
As he did in Early Riser (2019), Fforde presents a milquetoast cog in an absurdly bureaucratic wheel, this time cleverly skewering Brexit, conservative politics, and white supremacy in this surprisingly uplifting tale of one man doing his best, even if it is the bare minimum.

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

Publishers Weekly (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.

Reader Reviews

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 ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

The UK Independence Party (UKIP)

Anti-UKIP protest in Edinburgh, 2014 Jasper Fforde's novel The Constant Rabbit is a not-so-thinly-veiled allegory of racism and xenophobia that takes place in an alternate version of the United Kingdom. The governing party in the book is the UK Anti-Rabbit Party (UKARP), led by Nigel Smethwick, who seems to be based on Nigel Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP). While the novel is absurd and fantastical in its depiction of discrimination against anthropomorphic rabbits, it also references the rise of right-wing politics in the UK in recent years.

UKIP was born out of the Anti-Federalist League, formed as a campaign to oppose the Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union (EU) and promoted European integration, including EU ...

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