About the Book:
Pompous, pampered Maurice thinks he has his life sorted out. But when he meets a stranger at the funeral of his maiden aunt, he is taken on a bizarre journey of self-discovery that sends him to places people like him are not supposed to go. Angus Gaunt’s nasty little novel is about a man who stumbles towards a kind of redemption as he absents himself from society.
Not much is given away in the blurb for this novel so reading it was a revelatory experience, and one I enjoyed immensely. The story opens at a funeral for an elderly aunt where Maurice and his sisters are attending what they have obligatorily organised. As they get into the family funeral car, a stranger is sitting in there and they have no idea how he is connected to their aunt, nor is the stranger at all forthcoming with the details.
This opening is at once intriguing, but it’s the writing style of Angus Gaunt that really drew me in. He has such a command over his words and the way he arranges them is exact, giving and taking on a need to know basis. It’s such a sought after skill, that ability to give enough to the reader so they feel assured they know what’s happening, but holding back, allowing the reader the opportunity to see for themselves without having to have everything laid out and explained for them. It goes beyond ambiguous endings and is more about crediting the reader with intelligence. I liked that about his writing, very much.
This novel is darkly funny, the kind of humour I like best: sarcastic, satirical, clever. It walks a fine line that occasionally puts a toe into the preposterous, particularly as the ‘stranger’ ingratiates himself more and more into Maurice’s life. Maurice himself is on a downward spiral, things are going bad for him, both personally and professionally. It was beguiling to witness the trajectory of Maurice’s fall, and moreover, the path to his…let’s just call it a redemption. Nothing within this novel is as you would expect, which just makes it all the more delightfully sinister. I’d love to see this one adapted into a film, I think it would be brilliant.
Thanks is extended to Sappho Books for providing me with a copy of Black Rabbit for review.
Published by Ginninderra Press
About the Author:
Angus Gaunt is an Australian novelist and short story writer. He lives in a northern outpost of Sydney, with his partner Meredith, and together they run Sappho Books.
Find out more about Angus Gaunt here