Author: Lana Bastašić
Published by: Picador on May 27, 2021
Genres: General Fiction
Source: Publishers Group Canada
Book Rating: 7.5/10
Sara hasn’t seen or heard from 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.
In Catch the Rabbit, Lana Bastašic 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.
Frank, pensive, and melancholic!
Catch the Rabbit is a dark, gritty, nostalgic novel that takes us into the life of Sara, a young woman who is more than content with her current life in Dublin and how she’s managed to reinvent herself after growing up in Bosnia during the 1990s, until her childhood best friend, Lejla contacts her out of the blue after more than a decade to ask her to drive from Mostar to Vienna in order to find her brother who has been missing for more than twenty years, and whose disappearance has had a lasting impact on both of their lives.
The prose is perceptive and expressive. The characters are scarred, multilayered, and self-absorbed. And the plot, using a past-present style, is a reflective tale about life, loss, tragedy, family, friendship, coming-of-age, shared experiences, differing perspectives, and elusive memories, all interwoven with an undercurrent of the ongoing dread and tension experienced by those who must live and grow up in war zones.
Overall, Catch the Rabbit is a poignant, weighty, toxic tale by Bastašić that delves into all the messiness of life and highlights all the enduring psychological and emotional ties that exist between friends.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.