cover image The Hare

The Hare

Melanie Finn. Two Dollar Radio, $16.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-937512-97-2

Finn’s propulsive latest (after The Underneath) tackles power dynamics shaped by gender, age, and class via the harrowing story of an art school dropout who is seduced by a man who turns out to be a thieving con artist. It’s 1983 when Rosie Monroe, a freshman at Parsons School of Design from a blue-collar part of Massachusetts, meets fine art appraiser Bennett, who is 20 years her senior. Seduced by his connections to high society, she abandons Parsons to live with him at an estate on Connecticut’s Gold Coast, where Bennett has ingratiated himself with the owners, who come and go. Two years later, Bennett suddenly takes Rosie and their newborn daughter, Miranda, to an uninsulated cabin in northern Vermont, where sordid characters emerge from Bennett’s orbit who fence his stolen goods. Halfway through, the story jumps ahead 30 years to follow a middle-aged Rosie as traumatic memories of her abuse as a child rise to the surface, before Finn plunges into a muddled third act involving a grown-up Miranda’s search for answers about Bennett. Though there are too many narrative threads at play, Finn underscores the impact abuse has on Rosie’s psyche, while charting a course for the character’s resilience. This lurid tale will keep readers turning the pages. Agent: Kate Shaw, the Shaw Agency. (Jan.)