Monica Recommends - Dispatch #2
Not sure what book to dive into next? Look no further! Monica recommends The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Guntry.
The Rabbit Hutch is a very cyclical work, to its (at least in my opinion) great credit. It almost prepares the audience for a sadness that never quite occurs, allowing the light tinge of melancholy to simply linger untouched, as it does for most of fictional Vacca Vale's residents and for the reader, too, long after the book itself is closed.
This work is also very self-referential, returning again and again to certain points in a way that shadows them just enough to keep from making these references startlingly obvious, and has a Station Eleven-esque way of flitting from character to character, seemingly unconnected, before letting the audience in on the joke: they were all intertwined all along. Time is very fluid here, too, and while there are days and times mentioned, they are nearly irrelevant to the story as a whole and leaves the reader with the sense of walking through a strange and never-ending dream. To be clear, I fully mean this as a high compliment. While none of this is exactly a new concept in literary fiction, it is a concept I enjoy when done well, as it was here.
One of the major themes of the novel is the idea that there is no such thing as a moral activity, and the subsequent contemplations of moral vs. immoral actions. Again, not a new consideration, but I enjoyed the author's take on it throughout the narrative's journey. The main character strives to right injustice to consider her own existence ethical. A jilted son attempts to validate his hatred of his mother, and the person it has turned him into. A crew of teenage boys lack communication skills in any way that isn't violence, which feels both unsettling and familiar. Nothing is justified, and yet everything is explained, even if the explanation is the very true-to-life result of emotional instability that occurs as the negative emotions build uninhibited and unexamined over time. It is a very human and very relatable way of approaching the existence of this town and its inhabitants.
I would recommend this for fans of The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, as it strikes somewhere in the dead center of where those three oddly intersect!
Still not sure? Try this carefully curated playlist to really set the vibe!