Nobody knows why or how The Event occurred, but in 1965, 18 rabbits were transformed into human-sized and vaguely human-shaped versions of themselves overnight. Since then, they have done what rabbits do, and Britain has divided into those who are happy with or ambivalent about our new lagomorphic citizens. When Constance Rabbit and her family move into Hemlock Towers in the small town of Much Hemlock, the locals are not happy about it – not that they’re leporiphobic, obviously – and set Peter, an member of the Rabbit Compliance Taskforce, to watch over their unwelcome new neighbours. What nobody realises is that Peter and Connie go way back, leaving Peter to make the unenviable choice between job and species, and friendship.
The Constant Rabbit is a skilfully woven satire on the state of Great Britain’s politics and attitudes in modern times. If you’ve ever read Fforde before, you’ll know how realistic and complete his fictional worlds are, and this is no exception. His characters are completely believable, from the indecisive Peter to the bullish Clifford ‘Doc’ Rabbit to the insular and speciesist Mallett family. If you’ve not read Fforde before, you really need to sort yourself out – I suggest starting with his Thursday Next series.
It shouldn’t be possible to make a humorous novel that is essentially rooted in the darkness of racism, hate and persecution, but Fforde manages it very well. My only complaint was that it took a little while to get going, but once it did it absolutely stormed home.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.