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Three Years with the Rat

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  674 ratings  ·  131 reviews
A young man's quest to find his missing sister will catapult him into a dangerous labyrinth of secrets in this provocative, genre-bending, and page-turning debut.

After several years of drifting between school and go-nowhere jobs, a young man is drawn back into the big city of his youth. The magnet is his beloved older sister, Grace: always smart and charismatic even when
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 9th 2016 by Hamish Hamilton
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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 ·  674 ratings  ·  131 reviews

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This is what I call a delicious read.A Sci mystery, twists, conflicts and self-arguments. This book is full of them.

Story is about a young brother who comes back to the city after some years and start hanging out with his sister, her boyfriend and their friends. His sister goes missing one day and after a year the boyfriend goes missing too. To try to search and find these two the young brother steps in the crazy path those two already passed through.

Never in the story have learn about the
Blake Crouch
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A mind-warping thriller that will make you question reality as you conceive of it. One of the most assured and haunting debuts I've read in recent memory.
May 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Im sorry but this book had the bad luck to be the one I read before ACOWAR came out so I went through it pretty fast, but from what I can tell ,t his story was pretty much all over the place, maybe is one of those books that you need to sit down and calmly read.... The story meddles with physic aspects, philosophical question and weak characters... not a good mixture. But there were glimpses where the story shines and the intricacies of the story are actually a plus. Maybe I didn't like it as ...more
Lauren Davis
Aug 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Scientist writes book about temporal conundrums and existential meaning. Heady, trippy stuff. I found it somewhat pretentious, with a number of unfortunate sentences, a strangely sidelined central quest, an unmanageable climactic reveal, and an overall tonal drabness. Rats. I generally love these sorts of books, and I do give Hosking credit for taking on such an ambitious project, but perhaps it's too early in his career to do so. He has an MFA in Creative Writing, as well as various other ...more
Oct 06, 2016 rated it liked it
A very impressive debut novel by Jay Hosking, with a mind-bending and compelling story that's not afraid to tackle science, science-fiction, philosophy and... I don't know, magical realism? To be honest, I'm not sure I fully understood what happened in the end...

There are several buts, though. First of all, the characters felt flat and lifeless for the most part- the one character I was rooting for was actually Buddy the rat!!! Secondly, the non-linear approach to describing the events,
Father Time. Time is weird. It dilates, sometimes creating chasms, other times seeming to defy a gulf of years. Jay Hosking's novel reminds us that if it's "not nice to fool with Mother Nature " then it's positively dangerous to mess with Father Time.
Our main character is pretty much a regular guy just trying to have a life and put his difficult upbringing into the past. He is at a crossroads of sorts, a time when many paths are possible.
We have all heard about the implications coming from
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The promotional material for Jay Hosking's Three Years with the Rat claims that the novel is "reminiscent of Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves," but as typical with this kind of stuff, that's simply a lie; in fact the one and only thing the two books have in common is that they both feature a space that's
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Three Years with the Rat is a very cool book. It's really well written, brilliantly conceived, and elegantly constructed. It's the kind of story you want to get to the heart of, and it delivers on all counts. Jay Hosking is an exciting, innovative writer.

Three Years with the Rat is told by a nameless narrator, an aimless young man who moves to Toronto to start a new life close to his brilliant sister Grace. Grace and her boyfriend, John, are psychophysics grad students who are working in a lab
Nicola Mansfield
Oct 17, 2016 rated it liked it
This is an intriguing read and yet I never really was too taken with it. It's a short book but a slow read even though it kept me interested. Really, nothing much happens and there is no discernable climax. A strange book filled with science and yet probably best classified as magical realism. The plot concerns time and a woman scientist who wants to discover how time can be experienced objectively rather than subjectively. In simplistic terms she wants to stop time so she can experience life on ...more
I won this from the publisher in a GR giveaway.

This was a very interesting story, some aspects of it reminded me of Stranger Things, which was cool because I loved that show. The mystery was intriguing and kept going right up to the end.

One thing that I found a bit strange was the format. It is set up so that each part tells the story of three years in reverse order (2008, 2007, 2006). So at times there are things that happen in 2008 that don't make sense until you read the 2006 chapter. It is
Natelle Woodworth
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
"This is the only way back for us."

Although it says I read, "Three Years with the Rat" in three days, I basically read it in one day total. This book had me hooked from the moment I opened it. Reason why you ask? I didn't have a clue what was going on. Therefore, I kept reading just so I could try and figure it out. I loved that aspect of it! This book takes you on a crazy journey that has you questioning time itself. The narrator (who's real name is never really told but is called other things
Aug 15, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe this book got a green light to be published.
Adam Duclos
Apr 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Didn't enjoy this one.

The main character was just... really boring. The writing was very plodding as well. Everything that happened was described in a very tedious manner. There was very little emotion in the entire book.

At the beginning, the main character discovers that his friend, who was trying to find his sister who disappeared, himself disappeared, leaving a weird person-sized box behind, a rat, and a weird rat sized box.

The box proved to be filled with mirrors and weird dirt! The main
Andrew Barnes
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
When Blake Crouch calls your work "mind-warping" you are probably doing something right. A neuroscience P.h.D (this really pays off with his attention to detail and love of lab rats), Jay Hosking's fiction debut finds a college drop out, his scientist sister, and their doomed romantic partners, in an increasingly complex Toronto. For fans of: "hey wait what?" Sibling strife, and tenacious, unnamed , largely incompetent protagonists.
Thanks to NetGalley and publisher for free ebook!in exchange
Jessica Sullivan
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
There's the shell of something good here. Hoskings' ideas are interesting and intellectually stimulating in that speculative fiction mindfuck kind of way, but they're just not fully developed enough to be satisfying. I don't mind being confounded by a book of this naturetypically when time travel and multiple universes are involved that's to be expectedbut I need to be able to make some sense out of it. The writing isn't bad for a debut. It's a quick, engaging read. But the pacing and character ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
i really liked this book and i tore through it but also the ending REALLY confused me
Lillian Martin
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
The story is interesting but its hard to relate to the characters as they are mean spirited losers. ...more
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quite an impressive debut novel! What starts as a good story that jumps back and forth between three years in the narrator's life, takes a impressive jump into the surreal as the explanation for his sister's disappearance becomes apparent.
Vishaka Rajan
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really really really wanted to like this story. But I didn't. I was able to follow along for the most part but there were times when I really felt like I missed the point. This book had an interesting idea but I think it failed when it came to execution. There was really nothing I loved about this novel - other than the reference to different places in Toronto, of course. I didn't like any of the characters. They fell flat and had a one dimensional personality that was hard to love. I simply ...more
Sarah Sammis
The book is told through three interlacing timelines. From our point of view, everything is set into motion when the protagonist is telephoned by an angry landlord who demands that he come clear out the stuff left behind by his sister (Grace) and her boyfriend (John). Grace, we learn rather quickly, has been gone for some time and it's presumed that she has died by suicide. John, apparently, believes she is simply missing, fallen victim to an experiment they have been running.

Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tobin Elliott
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hard-copy, fiction, sf, fantasy
I'm giving this one a four, as the bulk of the book was really enjoyable, with a surprisingly sweet love story at its heart. The writing was, for the most part, exceptionally good (but there were a few bone-jarring sentences here and there).

I even enjoyed the 2008/2007/2006 format of the narrative quite a bit.

My problem is with the ending. And, unfortunately, it's my problem with most mind-bending story endings.

I find that an author can set up a scenario that's quite cool (I'm looking at you,
Pat Malon
I couldn't finish this book. Far too confusing for me with every chapter flipping back and forth between years. Additionally, the story didn't flow for me.
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A missing persons mystery that backs its way into a sci-fi/meta-physics/philosophical thesis. Not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn't it. Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The main character is an almost literal everyman, surrounded by people who are better/smarter/more talented than he is. He doesn't understand what's going on which is perfect because neither did I. Even after finishing the book, I wasn't sure what exactly happened but I'm okay with that. Warning: If you don't like ...more
Casey Frank
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm attempting to keep this entirely spoiler free:

This book will be a great read for fans of Dark Matter, or the recent Netflix show The OA as the story takes you on a similar "messing with science has dark repercussions" trip as the former, and then leaves you as perplexed and yet surprisingly satisfied as the latter.

I will admit that for most of the book I spent a fair amount of time wondering what exactly was going on, and there were a few times that I wondered why I should care, but the
May 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
I had the idea from reading about the author's PhD and neuroscience work that this would be an intelligent literary thriller; instead, it's a colloquially-written story that's greatest drama (for me) was hoping Buddy the Rat would be ok.

The main character is unlikeable and hard to believe. He drinks constantly, even after taking medications and pain killers, and somehow, this is all fine. (No!) He also speaks with an extremely casual tone, and yet is quick-to-learn complicated scientific
Steven Forrest
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this is my current favorite book in the sci-fi / magic realism genre. I was instantly taken in by the characters and found myself more than intrigued at the mystery they each had. The one thing you will notice first off is that the chapters fluctuate between years. This chronological unfolding method allows the author to explain the pasts as they become relevant to the present(future). Please do not let the slight difficulty of reading rotating years prevent you from finishing this book. I ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My new favorite book.
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Three Years with the Rat by Jay Hosking is a highly recommended debut genre-bending novel about a young man looking for his sister.

The unnamed narrator in Three Years with the Rat is called by various nicknames, Grace's little brother, Scruffy by a friend, and Danger by his new Toronto girlfriend, Nicole (or Trouble.) When our narrator, an underachiever with no real life goals, moves to Toronto where Grace and John, her boyfriend, live, he meets their friends and is included in their social
Lindsay (LindsayHWrites)
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars, reviewed, 2017
Full review here:
Three Years with the Rat, by Jay Hosking, covers some particularly dark themes, with the big one being suicide (and presumed suicide) and the way people respond and try to cope with that. The main character is rather fascinating, despite the fact that hes the sort to curse a lot, rarely does what he is supposed to at the right time, and has a bit of a temper. But the further you get into the novel, the more you can grow to understand
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Jay Hosking obtained his neuroscience Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia, teaching rats how to gamble and studying the neurobiological basis of choice.

At the same time, he also completed a creative writing M.F.A. His short stories have appeared in The Dalhousie Review and Little Fiction, been long-listed for the CBC Canada Writes short story competition, and received an editor's special

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