The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen – Book Review

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Rabbit-Back-LiteratureThis book follows the story of Ella, a young substitute teacher who teaches Finnish language and literature. Rabbit Back is a small town with its own literature society, set up by the famous Laura White. Ella becomes its tenth member and decides to probe into the history of the Rabbit Literature Society, but finds out about its dark secrets.

The Rabbit Back Literature Society was an interesting read. The mystery element of the book made me want to continue reading. I particularly liked the way in which the book describes the relationships between the authors who were members of the Rabbit Back Literature society. The dark, chilling game that the authors play where they force each other to ‘spill’ any hidden truths as a method to gain material for future novels was chilling to read but also interesting. Authors often have to gather material from other people’s experiences to make their characters more believable. The act of making a person being forced to tell the truth about a particular experience, one could say is a twisted way of gaining writing material.

The closeness of the setting made the book a more enjoyable read because cities can appear big and daunting, whilst in a small town one feels part of a small community. The Rabbit Back library is described as a communal space where anyone is welcome to sit down and read a book. There is also a café near the library where there is a table showcasing the work of each individual member of the Rabbit Back Literature Society. Reading books is very much my main hobby and I do enjoy reading books about books.

Ella’s story throughout the novel makes interesting reading, because she is the new member trying to fit into a society of established members. The research project Ella decides to undertake, in a way detaches her from the Rabbit Literature Society so her narrative feels as it is written from her view as an outsider.


My main criticism of the book is that it does not fully resolve the mystery of the disappearance of Laura White. I fully understand why her disappearance was required but it would have been interesting to fully understand the character of Laura White even more.


The Rabbit Back Literature Society is an interesting novel that explores the spilling of memories and the process of writing good literature. The story behind the main character was interesting to read, blending elements of literary research with elements of magical realism. There are loose ends in this novel, but if you like an air of mystery then this is the book for you.


Rating: 4/5 Stars


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