Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Literary, Occult & Supernatural, translation
Published by Pushkin Press, Limited
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Laura White wrote a series of children’s books featuring magical creatures. Now her hometown of Rabbit Back is in the business of Laura White tourism. Sculptures of her creatures are all over town. (Imagine if J.K. Rowling lived in a small English town dedicated to all things Harry Potter.)
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Laura White started a literary society consisting of children from the local school who she thought had the potential to be great writers. She trained them and now they are the top writers in Finland. She never added anyone past the original nine but has been on the lookout for talent.
Now, Ella, a substitute teacher, has been picked to be the tenth member.
Ella notices that there are a lot strange happenings in town and they seem to center around the Literature Society members. Library books are changing the endings of the stories. All the dogs in town are running away from home and congregating in the front yard of one of the writers. On the day that Ella is to formally inducted into the Society, Laura White disappears in a swirl of snow – inside her house.
Ella is determined to figure out what is going on in Rabbit Back.
I loved this book. It is a wonderful mix of magical realism edging up close to fantasy and into psychological thriller as Ella probes the memories of the original members to find out what they are hiding.
And that epilogue? I heart, heart, heart the epilogue! There is enough of a twist to surprise and to smack you right in the feelings.
“Shit,” Ella said.
“There you go,” Ingrid said happily. “When life gives you plums, spit out the stones.”
“Free coffee and cake will get the masses out better than resurrection day.” She looked around, smiled broadly, and said, “But if you want to find characters for a book, this is a good place to do it, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. I found bits of a serial killer’s mother, half of a hero’s lover, and three whole peripheral characters today. A nice haul.”
If you like this book try The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. It is a Swedish novel that is also very funny.