When God was a Rabbit: From the bestselling author of STILL LIFE
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Things are complicated in Elly's life and yet the fairy tale, childish quality of Winman's writing means there's a lightness to it all - even the disastrous nativity play that ends with baby Jesus in a coma. Winman writes with apparent ease and the narrative flows comfortably between the contrasting moods. Red says: A wonderful coming-of-age story told in two halves about a girl and her brother experiencing love, in its many forms, for the first time.
The story continues through to 9/11 and the way that event touches the lives of those she loves. Inevitably, some of the lightness leaves the writing here - even Winman can't be amusing about the fall of the Twin Towers.Someone in my book group recommended this book and I started to read it after a hard day at work. It totally transformed my thinking, I was drawn into the story I loved the characters and felt happy. I have just finished her other book, still life and feel the same, do read it The offbeat coming-of-age story of Elly, an English girl with an overactive imagination, an intense bond with her older brother, a Belgian hare named god and multiple dates with destiny in post-9/11 New York. I can imagine that as a writer it is tempting to do too much in one's first novel and I think this is what's wrong with this particular debut. As many have commented, the first section is far better than the second. It is in the first section, however, that we get a taste for the unnecessary and somewhat sloppy storytelling that's to come. It annoys me greatly when an author glosses over the realities of life by making characters incredibly rich. I saw no need for the sudden, imprecise wealth that befell this family before their relocation to Cornwall. It seemed to serve only to answer potential questions and explain how it was no one really worked for the rest of the book. Still the book and characters seemed comfortable in England and there the story made sense. When Joe oddly appeared in New York as a banker, I grew worried. First a Princess Di mention and now this a Sept 11 foreshadowing. And it was well written and definitely evoked emotion (although that's relatively easy with this subject); but was it necessary? If anything it distracted from the heart of the story and relied on the reader's existing emotional connection to the event to tug at the heart strings.
Singh, Anita (20 January 2012). "Waterstones 11: the literary ones to watch". telegraph.co.uk. The Telegraph . Retrieved 29 January 2012.
When God Was a Rabbit
Not my usual type of book and had been very reluctant to read this one, several friends recommended it to me but I had put it off for a long time. It's like loving someone deeply when you've passed the stage of blind love, the excitement of the newness. You get to know the quirks and the annoying bits, but you're still in love with that person. That's how I felt about this novel. I love Sarah Winman's writing. The way she just puts in these unexpected hilarious little statements kept me laughing out loud. I wear reading glasses, and they kept fogging up at times. It made my mascara run, leaving my husband worried that I was upset about something!!!!
I divide my life into two parts. Not really a Before and After, more as if they are bookends, holding together flaccid years of empty musings, years of late adolescent or the twentysomething whose coat of adulthood simply does not fit.”But there’s a continuation of huge and dramatic events, (some of which really feel quite contrived) I felt that the eponymous God/rabbit premise might have been developed further, and I would have loved for Elly to swapped her circumspection for just some of Nancy's devil-may-care personality traits.