Monday 26 December 2011

When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman

How could I resist a novel called When God was a Rabbit? It's well worth reading too, though make sure you have a hanky ready as it's a very emotional experience.

The first part of the novel follows Eleanor Maude as she grows up with her family in the south of England (starting off in Essex and moving to Cornwall). The second part sees her as an adult. All through the novel, the details of Ellie's life are set against the events of the time, many of which impinge on her life (the Queen's Silver Jubilee in terms of the street party she attends, the falling of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in a far less benign way). A lot of Christmases are celebrated in the novel, which make it an ideal Christmas read.

While she is a child, Eleanor has a big rabbit, that she calls god. Given the title of the novel I had expected god to be more of a central character than he is. I also felt that god was banished too much to his hutch and not given enough attention, for example I suspect that his hay wasn't changed as often as it should have been.

Aside from my lagomorphic concerns though, this is an excellent novel, about loneliness and fitting in and about how life can change unexpectedly, giving second chances where you might not have expected them. Winman has a great eye for detail, there are some lovely descriptions for example of the river near Ellie's home in Cornwall. Ellie is also a character who is very much at home in the natural world.

So definitely a book I would recommend, just don't expect the rabbit to be centre stage!

When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman published by Headline


Mimi Foxmorton said...

Off I go to put this on my Goodreads list!
Sounds beautiful!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I read about this one earlier in the year, but promptly forgot about it! Thanks for the reminder!

And Happy, Happy Christmas!!

RG said...

I'll never get to reading it - probably just as well. Around here, in this House, every living thing thinks they are god.

Loved the Myths of Flight! Kids these days - they just don't have enough faith!

bunnits said...

With that title, I have to check out this one. Thanks.

Cuby said...

I have seen this book on book store shelves but never been intrigued enough to even pick it up but after reading this I am off to read more reviews and maybe even the book itself. Thanks for the nudge!

Lisa Alto said...
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Lisa Alto said...
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Lisa Alto said...

I read this a few months back, having chosen it because of the titular rabbit so like you I was disappointed by his limited role. I did like how he spoke though! It was an interesting read all the same and although I wasn't sure about the first half, I couldn't put the second half down, and had my heart in my mouth and cried through the twin towers chapters.

madhat said...

Putting this on my books-to-read list.
Hope you has a lovely Christmas.

Days are getting longer again! :)