Book Review | Catch The Rabbit by Lana Bastašić

Thank you to Alice and Picador for sending me a proof copy of Catch The Rabbit in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Sara hasn’t seen or heard from her childhood best-friend, Lejla, in years. She’s comfortable with her life in Dublin, with her partner, their avocado plant, and their naturist neighbour. But when Lejla calls and demands she come home to Bosnia, Sara finds that she can’t say no.

What begins as a road trip becomes a journey through the past, as the two women set off to find Armin, Lejla’s brother who disappeared towards the end of the Bosnian War. Presumed dead by everyone else, only Lejla and Sara believed Armin was still alive.

Confronted with the limits of memory, Sara is forced to reconsider the things she thought she understood as a girl: the best friend she loved, the first experiences they shared, but also the social and religious lines that separated them, that brought them such different lives.

Translated into English by Lana Bastašic, Catch the Rabbit tells the story of how we place the ones we love on pedestals, and then wait for them to fall off, how loss marks us indelibly, and how the traumas of war echo down the years.

Review

Catch The Rabbit is a complicated, unique story surrounding friendship, war and childhood memories.

Told through Sara’s chatty perspective, it really gives you a thorough idea of who she is and her stream-of-consciousness style is raw and entirely like chatting to a friend. This is interspersed with the road trip and their past – their childhood memories and friendship from a different viewpoint.

Sara and Lejla are not particularly likeable characters but their depth and decorum is what drew me to them. The impact of the Balkan War is starkly evident from Sara and Lejla’a friendship. Sara having moved away to Dublin for over a decade, and Lejla staying put in Bosnia. After they are reunited on a search, it’s clear how they have been shaped as people because of their surroundings.

The ‘road trip’ style car journey is what forces the two in such close proximity after such a long time apart. It’s evident their chat goes through phases of happy, sad and everything in between. Their memories are often warped, with different versions of the same event. I found this flitting between time and perspective shifts a bit hard to get my head around at first but soon adapted to the writing style and enjoyed the flow of the narrative.

Lana Bastašić is a brilliant writer and her words really grip you in a beautifully real fashion. Having translated the novel into English herself, it’s clear that each word has been pondered and thought through.

I had questions right through to the very end of this novel, be prepared to be continually unsure what to think, but in the best possible way! I enjoyed this as it kept me guessing. Catch The Rabbit is out now from Picador. You can purchase using the link below, and also help to support independent bookshops.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Until next time,

Monthly Wrap Up | September 2021

September feels like it passed by in a bit of a blur, I can’t quite believe I’m already writing my wrap up! The last of the warm weather hit and ever since it’s felt like autumn is well and truly here. I’m ready for all the cosiness, but the only thing I’m not a fan of is how early it gets dark! I need to try and embrace it this year but I definitely struggle with the reduced daylight hours, I’m sure there are many of you who are the same. On the bright side, Halloween and Bonfire Night are not far away so I’ll be concentrating on the countdown for those to get me through the dark evenings!

My reading for September has been little slower again this month, but I’ve read a couple of books that were firm favourites and as promised, there are quite a few throwback reads. This month I’ve taken part in one blog tour, read six books and won’t actually be reviewing any of these. I took a bit of a break from the reviewing but don’t worry I’ll be back to normal service soon(ish) and I still have some reviews to post.

What I Read

The Donor by Clare Mackintosh ✰✰✰✰

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver ✰✰✰✰✰

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan ✰✰

If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin ✰✰✰✰

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (DNF)

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon ✰✰

Girl A by Abigail Dean ✰✰✰

Book of the month

The book of the month for September was the easiest pick of the year so far… The Two Lives of Lydia Bird! I loved this novel, it was a truly interesting concept. The characters were wonderful, I really warmed to Lydia and her situation. I highly recommend! One Day in December is also brilliant, so if you haven’t read that either make sure you do as we’re heading into Christmas. I’m also eagerly awaiting Josie Silver’s new release, One Night on the Island, out next year!

Going forward

This month has been quite a different month as I solely read books from my TBR which I didn’t have pressure to review. I think going forward into October I’ll probably continue this, while trying to also incorporate a couple of books to review. I think it’s been nice to take a short break to refresh, as it can sometimes be challenging with reviewing to always be able to express your thoughts. Surprisingly this is usually more of an issue when I really like the book, it can be hard to do it justice!

As always, a huge thank you to the publishers and authors who provided me with a gifted copy of a book in exchange for an honest review. You’ll find their details tagged in each individual blog post, linked above. 

Until next time,

Book Review | The Other You by J.S. Monroe

Thank you to Vicky and Head of Zeus for providing me with a copy of The Other You in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

He looks the same. He looks like a stranger. 

Super recognisers are born with the ability to remember a face forever, even from a single glance. Kate was one of them. She worked for the police, using her gift to spot criminals and save lives. Then came the accident.

Deprived of her abilities after a devastating car crash, Kate found refuge in a new relationship. She met Rob in hospital, and he nursed her back to health in his beautiful house in Cornwall. But now something feels horribly wrong. Rob looks the same, but Kate feels certain: the man she fell in love with has been replaced by an impostor.

Is this the paranoia of a damaged mind? Or is it Kate’s old instinct, screaming one last warning?

Review

The Other You is a unique and interesting novel, filled with the unexpected right from the first page.

The story is told through three perspectives; Kate, Jack and Silas. This allows for a varied overview of the situations and each of their insights were also useful in building their characters. They also helped in the development of Kate.

The premise of the book gripped me from the beginning. I wanted to know more about each of the characters! We are told facts about them but it definitely left me wanting more. Be prepared for lots of why, what, when, where, how right from the offset!

It’s written in a short timeline format; one week earlier followed by Friday – Tuesday. A lot happens in that short time form, so don’t let it fool you. The chapters are also short which reflects this timeline nicely and really compliments the fast pacing.

J. S. Monroe writes nicely and as well as being immersed in the story from the first page, I found myself intrigued by the concept of super recognisers. The ability to recognise faces from a one-time glance is fascinating and I felt it definitely added an extra level of depth to the story.

A gripping novel which I flew through, I’d recommend The Other You. It’s out now from Head of Zeus, you can purchase a copy using the link below and also help support independent bookstores.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Until next time,