There are times when you don’t finish a book in time for a book club discussion but you go anyway. I mean, it’s all about the wine and conversation, right?
But then there are times when you’re halfway through a book that’s full of twists, turns and gasp-inducing surprises, and you just have to send your regrets: “See you next month,” I told the KMUW Literary Feast regulars recently. Because SPOILERS.
The book was The Hare by Melanie Finn, a propulsive new literary thriller that’s woven through with themes of patriarchy, feminism and personal transformation. The story focuses on Rosie Monroe, a young woman raised by a stern grandmother who drops out of art school to be with a worldly older man.
“Rosie loved him,” Finn writes, “and the love and the desire to protect him made her feel like a grown-up woman.”
But he’s not a good guy, this Bennett, and Rosie’s not a grown-up—at least not yet. Finn’s novel follows Rosie to a run-down cabin in northern Vermont, where she is forced to care for her young daughter alone, hunting and foraging for food with the help of a tough neighbor, Billy. When Bennett returns from a supposed teaching job, Rosie begins to realize her strength and the primal need to protect her daughter.
Finn’s writing—with vivid descriptions of Vermont mud and menopausal hot flashes—is nothing short of stellar. The Hare contemplates a woman’s inherent sense of obligation and is especially relevant amid the #MeToo movement. The story, meanwhile, is unpredictable and unputdownable, culminating in an unforgettable final image that I’m not going to spoil here.