Rabbits for Food

Soho. May 2019. 384p. ISBN 9781641290531. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781641290548. F
As the year winds down in Kirshenbaum’s latest novel, her first since 2009’s The Scenic Route, Bunny spirals downward into a devastating depression. Even husband Albie’s devotion cannot keep her from landing in a Manhattan psych ward. Bunny has never had an easy personality, which makes her first name a bit incongruous, but it serves her well as she applies her skills as a novelist to chronicle and critique the lives of both patients and doctors in the mental institution. Bunny is so sardonic as to be completely unsympathetic, but this is exactly what makes her such an intriguing and complex character.
VERDICT Kirshenbaum has excelled at capturing one woman’s disturbing mental illness and the daily struggles to cope with survival even in a setting that supposedly offers support and rehabilitation. Drawing parallels to Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest comes easily because of the similar setting and a cast of characters supporting the main character. Recommended.

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