Rabbits for Food by Binnie Kirshenbaum
Binnie Kirshenbaum's novel is a darkly humorous look at the opposing states of success and failure, love and loneliness
It’s the occasion of mandatory fun that brings everyone together: New Year’s Eve. While (sort of) celebrating the end of one year and promise of another with her husband and friends, Bunny unravels, and her subsequent breakdown lands her in a psychiatric ward in New York. Here she refuses recommended treatment, instead picking seemingly needless activities to pass the time – creative writing sees her chronicle the lives of those around her.
Bunny is a bleakly acerbic character, and through the snippets of her writing readers are able to put together moments in her past. A clinically depressed writer, her sarcastic and dry approach to life showcases the dynamics (or lack thereof) with those around her – whether husband Albie, or those reluctant to be classed as her friend. It’s a book of fluctuating points of view, styles and intrigue written with real sharpness.
A bridge of dark humour and a deep dive into a disordered mind, and the lives lived in a mental institution, it’s a book that could ultimately circle despair, but pricks through with moments of wit and occasional lightness. The promised hilarity isn’t always present, and the heaviness can at times take over. But the novel's exploration of opposing states – success and failure, love and loneliness – jolt the reader around throughout, making for a read that you can’t quite put down.
Serpent's Tail, 14 Nov, £14.99