De kommer att drunkna i sina mödrars tårar

The Rabbit Yard

by Johannes Anyuru

A winter night in Gothenburg. Three individuals, who have sworn allegiance to the crumbling terror state Daesh, enter a local book store where a controversial comic artist has been invited to talk about freedom of expression and blasphemy. His appearance is disrupted by gunshot, panic breaks out and everyone in the store is taken hostage. One of the attackers, a young woman, is tasked to film the violence and put it up on a live feed on internet. But as the situation escalates, she turns to one of the others and whispers: ‘Everything is wrong. We shouldn't be here. We should leave.’

Two years later, an author visits the young woman at a clinic for forensic psychiatry. She has read his books, and asked for him. He comes, reluctantly; in his eyes she is a demon that has stolen his face, his religion. At the same time, he is curious to find out what she wants. Curious about the mystery of this young Belgian girl, who suddenly showed up in Sweden, no longer knowing her mother tongue or acknowledging the name in her passport, and who performed this heinous act of terror. She hands him a bunch of papers, asks him to read them, to tell her what he thinks. And as he is about to leave, she tells her secret: that she is not from here, not from this now. That she is in fact from the future.

Over the next couple of years, the author seeks out the survivors as well as relatives of the attackers, tries to find out more than what can be told from media headlines and the brutality of the girl's film. He continues to visit the girl in the clinic and she continues to write about the reality she comes from: the persecutions, the degradations, the Rabbit Yard. There is something about her story that he cannot put his finger on, that cannot just be attributed her schizophrenia. At the same time, he and his wife are planning their move to another country, to secure a better future for themselves and their daughter. The young woman in the clinic is disappearing more and more often, giving room for that other girl, the Belgian one, who does not recognize his face or speak his language. Time is running out for him to unlock the mystery.

The Rabbit Yard
is an intense story filled with sorrow over the state of the world today. It's about hope and hopelessness, about friendship and betrayal, and about the ugly theater of terror and fascism. Johannes Anyuru shows us once again that he is a master of words and time, and that he justly deserves his place among the big international names of his generation.

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