With a title as unusual as this, it was no wonder that Sarah Winman's debut novel caught my eye earlier this year. I was mooching around the bookstore (as one does!) and was instantly drawn to the cover. "What on earth could this book possibly be about?" I wondered.
It has an absolutely beautiful cover design, this intriguing title - yet neither really provide any clue as to what this story contains. A quick skim of the blurb and I find out it's the tale of a brother and a sister. Perfect - that's what my family consisted of.
As the story unfolds, there's a definite relationship between the two characters - an inquisitive and curious younger sister and a protective older brother. Yet they don't come across as close. That said, there's certainly a great deal of love between the two. We're introduced to both characters as children but then the story skips ahead in time to New York and 9/11.
Although various events occur throughout the story, none of these are written about in great detail and nor do they have to be. It's not the events of the story that shape these two, but rather their sibling relationship and all that it entails.
I recently read a magazine article which listed the top 100 books of 2011. Shamefully I hadn't even read a half of them, but When God Was A Rabbit featured and I was able to put a tick beside it. As the year ends, this book still stands out as one of my favourite reads of the year. It's gentle, unassuming and a novel so different from any I've read before.
I always love finding a book like this and even better when it's an author's first one. That certainly bodes well for 2012!