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An enchanting satire

The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde, Viking, US $27.95, Pp 312, September 2020, ISBN 978 -0593296523

The story is set in 2022 in England where human-sized rabbits, foxes, weasels, and other creatures live as humans, among humans. A spontaneous and strange Anthropomorphizing Event on 18 rabbits, six weasels, five guinea pigs, three foxes, a Dalmatian, a badger, nine bees and a caterpillar took place some fifty years ago which triggered this situation. They were all anthropomorphized and they continued to reproduce. The population of human-size rabbits has grown to be 1.2 million. They walk, talk and do everything like their human neighbors. This has created a social and political crisis in the country as humans are not ready to extend the same human rights to non-human inhabitants of the Earth. They look down upon rabbits in particular because of their propensity to reproduce faster. The situation has given birth to political parties like the United Kingdom Anti-Rabbit Party and hate groups like TwoLegsGood. Such groups continue to rise to unthinkable power which boasts of equality in every sphere.

Much Hemlock is a little scenic village in Middle England known for summer festivals, jam-making, gossipy corner stores and of course the Best Kept Village awards. A family of rabbits decide to move there after hearing such enchanting stories about the village. But when the rabbits arrive there, the human villagers decide to leave the village. What they hate about rabbits is their habits of burrow and propensity to breed. But they hate their vegan habits more than anything else. This does not move Mrs. Constance Rabbit and her family who are not going anywhere. Its longtime resident Peter Knox and his daughter, Pippa, decide not to leave and support the new residents of the village. To their utter surprise, they discover that they can be friends either to humans or rabbits – but not to both. Romance blossoms but cultural differences remain strong. When the ruling United Kingdom Anti-Rabbit Party turns against them, Peter and Pippa decide to resist. They question everything they had ever believed. They have doubts about their friends, their nation, and their belief system.

Who do these human-size rabbits, foxes, and weasels refer to? Jasper Fforde leaves that to your imagination. But we know racism still exists in our society although it remains latent in Western societies. Events like Brexit bring it on the surface and human social relations become sharp. The Anthropomorphizing Event has also pushed racism to the surface. The Constant Rabbit will shake you out of slumber and show you the real world behind your liberal façade. Jasper Fforde’s new fantasy-filled satirical novel is a real thriller. If it is witty and entertaining, it is also scary and chilling.

About the author

Jasper Fforde gave up his career in the fiLm industry when his novel The Eyre Affair debuted on the New York Times bestseller list in 2002. He is the author of the Thursday Next series, the Nursery Crimes series, and Shades of Grey. He lives and works in Wales.

(Author bios are normally provided by the publishers.)

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