When God was a Rabbit

Review, Sarah Winman, 2011

You must read this book. It’s the best discovery I’ve made in a long time. It was so beautiful, I couldn’t get enough of it. I should have written this review closer to the time of finishing the book, which was just a few days ago, but as you can see here, I have lots of reading to be getting on with!

This is a book about a brother and sister.

It’s a book about childhood and growing up, friendships and families, triumph and tragedy and everything in between.

More than anything, it’s a book about love in all it’s forms.

The book begins in 1968 in England and continues right up to some time in the 2000s between England and New York. It centres around Elly, her brother Joe, their parents, strange best friend Jenny Penny,  wonderful Auntie Nancy, and various colorful add-ons to the family that their parents acquire through their B & B. It is indeed about triumph and tragedy, and some very dark things happen, that the children have to deal with. Elly and Joe are painfully close. She sets out to find a God who will love her, her atheist Dad not convincing, and her brother gets her a huge Belgian Hare who sometimes talks to her, and whom she calls God.

Sarah Winman

The writing itself is gorgeous and is probably my favourite thing about this book. If only my debut novel could be so beautiful… On speaking about her birth Elly says: “And during the seventy-yard walk back down to our house, her amniotic fluid mixed with the December rain and spiralled down the gutter until the cycle of life was momentously, and one might say, poetically complete.” “…and my mother pushed, and I slipped out effortlessly into that fabled year.” She makes mundane, and even a horrible thing like a hangover sound good, and pretty. This is amazing, what a talent. I can’t even say the word ‘hangover’ when I am afflicted.

Elly seems to mainly grow and flourish through the relationships with her brother Joe and Jenny Penny. She absorbs all their experiences into her own life, this is fascinating.

I wouldn’t like to give too much of this book away, but it is a wonderful read that seems to have finally woken me out of my reading slump with its deliciousness. Can’t recommend it enough.


Author: Fiona


2 thoughts on “When God was a Rabbit”

  1. I read this on an eight hour flight from London to Dallas in March. I was wedged in between a friendly man and an unfriendly woman and at one point (shortly after they start running the B and B…) I just broke down and started weeping I was so over come with it. I’m not sure whether I got away with it or whether the people either side of me just ignored me in case I was a dangerous lunatic…

    1. Oh I can understand! Oh it’s good to have such a clear memory of when you were reading it, no matter if it is a little embarrassing 🙂 The end is SO sad too… what almost happens/ does happen to Joe. I found it hard to describe this book, but it is beautiful and skilful ! Thanks for the comment.

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