The same way there are authors who are not for me, there are authors which are. Jasper Fforde is one of them. Authors in the former camp tend to have books that which I’d consider 4* which end up getting pushed down to 3* for me, while with Fforde I feel like the opposite is true. Which is not to say this is a 3* book that I have pushed up to 4*, just that I feel like there’s a bit of leeway he would have were that the case (and which was definitely the case for some of the later books in the The Eyre Affair series).
Again, this is not that! I found this really enjoyable and engaging, and if I had had less work and more time to read over the past week I’d have finished this in many fewer sittings. As it were, I only got to this very late at night and was forcing myself to stay awake to finish and inevitably failing, because 6am is not a bedtime.
Perhaps not peak Fforde–I relegate that label to more literary minded works, by virtue of the aforementioned The Eyre Affair, and by the fact that even here there are literary/film/cultural jokes by the dozen just sprinkled in like seasoning–but very close to it, The Constant Rabbit doesn’t hide its satirical roots. Like the rabbits (and weasels, and foxes, and one elephant) who make up its driving force, it wouldn’t have been easy to do so and so he just leans into it. UKIP and Nigel Farage becomes UKARP and Nigel Smethwick. Brexit happened here, and the neighborhood-based corollary Rabxit is bandied about without a hint of irony. The neverending doublespeak of neighborhood busybodies who profess a Total, Utter Lack of Bias while being hideously Racist (Speciesist?) and also clearly attracted to the subjects of their loathing…well that’s not satirical, that’s just fact. It’s not kosher to call rabbits “bunnies” anymore, they prefer “rabbit,” but it’s not the same thing as rabbits calling humans “Fudds” (for Elmer Fudd).
As a Teaching Moment Tool the book might be a bit more uneven. The vitriol and ideology spewed by the anti-Rabbit factious is truly inhumane because the eponymous rabbits are, well, inhuman. I’m thinking of An Unkindness of Ghosts, which I’ve seen criticized for being too gratuitously torture porn-ish. Except that it’s another heavily allegorical type book, this time Enslaved People But In Space!, and that’s reality. It’s just because it’s about humans that it veers to this side of, ah I can’t take this, also when is it violence for the sake of violence?
Here, because we’re talking about Rabbits the need for moderation of the villains is entirely stripped away to the point where it’s comical. Maybe? As an across-the-street reader of UK news, I cannot say for sure that the Brexit-y contingent weren’t this vile wrt immigrants. I suppose that it wouldn’t surprise me if they had been is answer enough!