Victoria recommends! The Hare is an affecting portrait of Rosie Monroe, of her resilience and personal transformation under the pin of the male gaze.
Raised to be obedient by a stern grandmother in a blue-collar town in Massachusetts, Rosie accepts a scholarship to art school in New York City in the 1980s. One morning at a museum, she meets a worldly man twenty years her senior, with access to the upper crust of New England society. Bennett is dashing, knows that “polo” refers only to ponies, teaches her which direction to spoon soup, and tells of exotic escapades with Truman Capote and Hunter S. Thompson. Soon, Rosie is living with him on a swanky estate on Connecticut’s Gold Coast, naively in sway to his moral ambivalence. A daughter—Miranda—is born, just as his current con goes awry forcing them to abscond in the middle of the night to the untamed wilderness of northern Vermont.
Almost immediately, Bennett abandons them in an uninsulated cabin without a car or cash for weeks at a time so he can work a teaching job, that may or may not exist, at an elite college. Rosie is forced to care for her young daughter alone and to tackle the stubborn intricacies of the wood stove, snowshoe into town, hunt for wild game, and forage in the forest. As Rosie and Miranda’s life gradually begins to normalize, Bennett’s schemes turn malevolent, and Rosie must at last confront his twisted deceptions.
By Melanie Finn. Paperback. 321 pages. Published by Two Dollar Radio, 2021.
Victoria's review: A real accomplishment -- this literary thriller is feminist, supple and brave all at once. Our main character, Rosie, walks the all-too-familiar tightrope of obligation to men, to the patriarchy, to society. A page-turner with teeth -- and sharp ones, at that.
Content warning: coercive sexual situations, transphobia