review by Maryom
When she returns to her home town of Rabbit Back as a substitute literature teacher, Ella Milana expects it to be a temporary stay, a few months at most, but then she finds herself getting pulled into the weirdnesses of the town. Firstly, there's the matter of classic books that suddenly seem to have acquired different endings. Talking to the local librarian doesn't make matters clearer - could there be such a thing as a virus that passes from book to book causing this mayhem, or is it just idle printers playing practical jokes? Then she's selected as the tenth and final member of the Rabbit Back Literature Society. This very exclusive group was set up by local famous children's author Laura White to encourage young writers and help them achieve their dreams but, although all the members are highly respected, the inner workings of the Society are shrouded in mystery. Before Ella can properly join the Society, more things go awry and Laura White herself disappears as if by magic in a whirl of snow. Ella decides to take advantage of the Society's 'Game' to find some answers to her multitude of questions - under its rules, members must answer any questions posed as fully and frankly as possible. In this way she hopes to get to the bottom of Laura White's mysterious disappearance and to find out what happened to the boy-genius who was previously the tenth member of the Society. There are plenty of hidden secrets about to be unearthed....
The Rabbit Back Literature Society is a strange book to start to describe; in it the quirky and fantastical rub shoulders with the everyday world and 'serious' themes - so imagine something on the lines of a cross between Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels and Twin Peaks. Rabbit Back is a town populated as much by statues inspired by Laura White's novels as it is by people, a place where dogs congregate outside houses as if waiting for something or someone, and where having a 'mapping' taken to detect mythological creatures in your back garden is commonplace.
I found it a little slow to start, as the opening chapters were not quite what I'd expected from the blurb, but as Ella investigated further into the mysterious behind-the-scenes world of the Literature Society my curiosity grew. Gradually a picture emerges of how the Society members, and even the founder, have exploited each other, lifting plots and characters for their best-selling novels straight from real life.
If you fancy something a little different, give this a go; it won't disappoint.
Maryom's review - 4.5 stars
Publisher - Pushkin Press
Genre - adult literary, fantasy
Other reviews; The Worm Hole