Reviews for The Rabbit Hutch

by Tess Gunty

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

An ensemble of oddballs occupies a dilapidated building in a crumbling Midwest city. An 18-year-old girl is having an out-of-body experience; a sleep-deprived young mother is terrified of her newborn’s eyes; someone has sabotaged a meeting of developers with fake blood and voodoo dolls; a lonely woman makes a living deleting comments from an obituary website; a man with a mental health blog covers himself in glow stick liquid and terrorizes people in their homes. In this darkly funny, surprising, and mesmerizing novel, there are perhaps too many overlapping plots to summarize concisely, most centering around an affordable housing complex called La Lapinière, or the Rabbit Hutch, located in the fictional Vacca Vale, Indiana. The novel has a playful formal inventiveness (the chapters hop among perspectives, mediums, tenses—one is told only in drawings done with black marker) that echoes the experiences of the building’s residents, who live “between cheap walls that isolate not a single life from another.” Gunty pans swiftly from room to room, perspective to perspective, molding a story that—despite its chaotic variousness—is extremely suspenseful and culminates in a finale that will leave readers breathless. With sharp prose and startling imagery, the novel touches on subjects from environmental trauma to rampant consumerism to sexual power dynamics to mysticism to mental illness, all with an astonishing wisdom and imaginativeness. “This is an American story,” a character hears on a TV ad. “And you are the main character.” In the end, this is indeed an American story—a striking and wise depiction of what it means to be awake and alive in a dying building, city, nation, and world. A stunning and original debut that is as smart as it is entertaining. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.