Jasper Fforde (Early Riser; The Eyre Affair) has created a darkly funny satire of modern politics in The Constant Rabbit. It is 2022 and, due to the Spontaneous Anthropomorphizing Event of 1965, there are now more than a million human-sized, talking rabbits living in the United Kingdom.
The rabbits are polite, and mostly take the lower-class jobs that humans don't want. But right-wing politicians, concerned at how quickly rabbits could procreate if they wanted to, warn about the danger to English culture if rabbits are allowed to leave their government mandated warrens: "Let one family in and pretty soon they'll all be here." Middle-aged Peter Knox is a tiny cog in the large machine of a government agency that surveils rabbits--until a rabbit family moves into his village, and he's informed that he has to start spying on Doc and Constance Rabbit. But the thing is, Peter knows Connie--they went to college together--and Peter doesn't want anything bad to happen to the Rabbits. But he also doesn't want to lose his job.
With his trademark quirky flair, Fforde uses Knox to show what can happen when well-meaning people do nothing in the face of fascism. Rabbit causes clearly parallel political stakes in today's world, but with a layer of absurdity created by rabbit cultural oddities like dueling and gamboling ("sort of like mixing jazz dancing and yoga"). Funny and bitingly incisive, The Constant Rabbit is a standalone novel that showcases Fforde's unconventional writing at its very best. --Jessica Howard, bookseller at Bookmans, Tucson, Ariz.