Smart, atmospheric, the pull of a literary thriller with meat and heart. There were so many lovely sentences and passages, full of lyrical language and metaphor, it's like reading poetry in prose. Rosie is an amazingly complex character, and Finn captures her porous self so well here. In the beginning, we are coming-of-age with Rosie as she struggles to find her voice, her artistic vision, and her Self in a world dominated by men--men's desires and needs have always come first, and Rosie is no stranger to that sublimation. But as the book moves through time, we see Rosie gaining strength, getting strong in the woods where she hunts and forages to literally keep herself and her infant daughter alive (after they are left there by wealthy castaway boyfriend, Bennett). The book takes some twists and turns, and, ultimately, Rosie grows older, hardened yet still a loving soul, just like Finn writes of the trees on the barbed wire fence line in the forest: “The trees absorbed the cruel wire, grew straight and tall, regardless." (p. 157). What an apt metaphor for women in this world: we absorb the traumas, the violence, the sleights to our sex, and grow strong, regardless. I highly recommend this book.— Sam
"In this brooding feminist thriller, a former art student and her daughter are isolated in a rural Vermont cabin and have to contend with the toxic presence of an unbalanced con man in their lives." --Neil Vigdor, New York Times
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 tend 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. Her actions have far-reaching and perilous consequences.
An astounding new literary thriller from a celebrated author at the height of her storytelling prowess, The Hare bravely considers a woman's inherent sense of obligation - sexual and emotional - to the male hierarchy, and deserves to be part of our conversation as we reckon with #MeToo and the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearing. Rosie Monroe emerges as an authentic, tarnished feminist heroine.
"With The Hare, Melanie Finn has written a powerful story of female perseverance, strength, and resilience. This book has rare qualities: beautiful writing while being absolutely unputdownable, and I will be pressing it into the hands of every reader I know." --Claire Fuller, author of Bitter Orange, Our Endless Numbered Days, and Swimming Lessons
About the Author
Melanie Finn, author of Away From You (2004), The Gloaming(2016), The Underneath (2018), and The Hare (2021), was born and raised in Kenya and the US. The Gloaming was a New York Times Notable Book of 2016, a finalist for the Vermont Book Award and The Guardian's "Not the Booker" Prize. The writer and producer of the DisneyNature wildlife epic Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos, she is also the co-founder and director of the Tanzanian-based charity Natron Healthcare. She and her family live on a remote hill in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.Find out more on the author's website: www.melaniefinn.com.