Our Debut of the Month is an inventive, heartbreaking and difficult to categorise tale of survival and yearning. Written by the kind of insightful, literary voice that comes along only seldom The Rabbit Hutch is set to become one of the year’s most talked about first novels. It crosses genres and audiences and while be of especial interest to fans of Rachel Kusher and Jennifer Egan.
Blandine lives in a building that shouldn’t really be standing. The Rabbit Hutch, they call it. Having recently become old enough to leave the foster care system, she has made her way to the town of Vaca Vale – a once important industrial centre, now a crumbling husk. Her days consist of battling the rodents that threaten to take over her apartment, enduring the sounds of her neighbours through the building’s paper-thin walls and attempting to ignore the three teenage boys with whom she is forced to share a home (not that it could fairly be called that).
But Blandine does not belong among the other residents of The Rabbit Hutch. Her strange, haunting beauty and her remarkable intelligence set her apart somehow. She has been harmed by people and institutions all her life and now she yearns for a profound escape – the kind of transcendence she finds in the teachings of the mystics she admires. But how can she get there when she cannot even liberate herself from the dank confines of this terrible Indiana apartment block?
Within the span of one unendurably hot week in July, Blandine’s entrapment and longing will culminate in a single shocking act of violence that changes everything.
As a viciously funny portrait of contemporary life, as a keen-eyed and beautiful exploration of loneliness and as a provocative dream of freedom… The Rabbit Hutch works equally, beautifully well as all of these.