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Book clubs  •  2 July 2021


The Rabbits book club notes

A (Penguin Literary Prize) winning pick for book club.

Explore themes of family secrets, art, very mild superpowers, loneliness and the strange connections we make in the places we least expect with your reading group. Get the conversation started with the questions below.

Discussion points and questions:

  • The Rabbits contains various examples of female friendship – between Olive and Lux, Olive and Mindy, and November and Delia, to name a few. How do these differ and what did you take from them?
  • Families are complex and rich. The Rabbits sets out to explore the deep-set need of individual family members to feel seen and heard by the people they love. Is the author successful in this ambition?
  • Sophie Overett flips the typical outback setting of Australian classics with The Rabbits embracing the hotbeds of differences and secrets that comprise our suburban areas by drawing on her own childhood in Brisbane. How real did the setting of the novel feel for you?
  • How does the oppressive Queensland summer heat affect the action in the novel?
  • Delia says that Griff ‘play[s] at love with an image in his head, hold[s] it to her and pretend[s] she fits it’, but that it still ‘feels good to be seen, even in the abstract’. What do you think Delia is really saying here, and what is she looking for in her relationship with Griff?
  • November and Delia refer to the different standards that fathers and mothers are held to (‘You know a father can do nothing but show up for one soccer game, and he’s somehow number-one dad, but there’s no such thing as a good mother.’) The Rabbits presents a number of portraits of fathers, but they are not the central roles of the novel. What are your thoughts on this?
  • What views do different characters in the novel hold about the relationship between someone’s identity, work and interests?
  • What is it that brings Delia and Ed together? Do you believe they could have a future together?
  • Magic realism is one of those genres that people often profess to hate. Do you think The Rabbits fits into this genre? Is your understanding of the story that Charlie really was invisible to the human eye?

Feature Title

The Rabbits
From the winner of the Penguin Literary Prize and the Kathleen Mitchell Award. A multigenerational family story with a dose of magical realism. It is about family secrets, art, very mild superpowers, loneliness and the strange connections we make in the places we least expect.
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