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When God was a rabbit : a novel
Sarah Winman
Adult Fiction WINMAN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Winman debuts with a heartbreaking story of the secrets and hopes of a sister and brother who share an unshakable bond. Elly and her older brother, Joe, appear to be just like all the other kids in mid-1970s Essex, U.K., but, as is often the case, shocking secrets lurk below the surface for the siblings and Elly's best friend, Jenny Penny-one has been sexually abused, another has an alcoholic and promiscuous mother, another is homosexual-and the weight of bearing each other's traumas erupts in hard to watch ways. As the years go on, each moves forward; for Elly and Joe, this is more easily accomplished, as their family moves away from Essex and Joe's secret is brought to light, relief Elly doesn't receive until much later. As the story winds through time and across the Atlantic, the trio and their families are rocked by 9/11, leading to a final twist that strains belief before settling into acceptable inevitability. Winman shows impressive range and vision in breaking out of the muted coming-of-age mold, and the narrative's intensity will appeal to readers who like a little gloom. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Over a 30-year time span, Elly and her older brother, Joe, experience everything the late 20th century has to throw at them, from child molestation to marital upheaval, cancer, and, finally, the terror of 9/11. Joe goes down the rabbit hole of depression when he loses the early love of his life, Charlie, who is abducted and tortured after his father gets a contract to work in the Middle East. When Elly also suffers the loss of a neighborhood friend, Joe comforts her with the gift of a pet Belgian hare whom they decide to call "God." Their father's big win in the football pools transforms the family from middle-class suburbanites to wealthy eccentrics as they leave their familiar Essex surroundings and move to a wooded estate in Cornwall. VERDICT Despite the gravity of events, Winman pulls a good number of rabbits from her hat in a picaresque coming-of-age tale where characters disappear then shockingly reappear. This affecting and original debut is recommended for most public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, 11/22/10.]--Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Sister of Joe.

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