Review: When God Was A Rabbit

When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman (2011)

I recently had the good fortune of stumbling  across another beautiful novel.  Makes for the sort of reading that’s as easy as breathing.  Not because it’s simplistic or juvenile but because the author works her magic so quietly you feel like the story is unfolding inside your mind.  God, I hope I can do that one day.

This is the sort of book I really needed.  I’m back at uni, the whips are cracking, my nose is jammed right against that grindstone.  I’m well on my way to earning a Bachelor of Anxiety. If you’re like me and you feel like your brain is consistently overstepping its thinking quota – this might be a good alternative to trashy TV and romantic comedies (my personal poison).  It’s unusual and intelligent and a touch more readable than the Harvard Law Review.

When God Was a Rabbit is the story of a delightfully eccentric, British family, spanning from the late 60s to 9/11.   Above all, the novel chronicles the intense bond the protagonist, Elly, shares with her older brother. I don’t think it’s necessary to share much of the plot.  The most attractive thing about this book for me is the refreshingly original characters that drive it forward.  They’re quirky – not in an irritating, hipster cliché way, just genuinely intriguing.  They make for an honest, entertaining read, that gets pretty dark at times but never topples into melodrama.

Anyhoo, keeping it short today.  I’ll leave you with a little excerpt:

“I sat down on the patio slabs and watched god’s movement under the newspaper. I pulled the blanket around my shoulders.   The sky was dark and vast and empty and not even a plane disturbed that sullen stillness, not even a star.  The emptiness above was now mine within.  It was a part of me, like a freckle , like a bruise.  Like a middle name no one acknowledged.  I poked my finger through the wire and found his nose.  His breath was slight, warm.  His tongue insistent. ‘Things pass,’ he said quietly.”

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