JANE'S BAD HARE DAY by Carol Ann Sima


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 A first novel set in New York that tries too hard to be outrageous as it skewers relations between the sexes in pretentious prose. Mixing haiku, verbal riffs with narrative and commentary divided into paragraphs rather than chapters, New Yorker Sima recalls an October of 40ish Jane Samuels, for whom ``Fall is the winter'' of her life, ``a catch-up season.'' Each October, Jane stops working and takes stock, but in the October of the novel, on the fourth anniversary of her ``monumentally one-sided divorce,'' she is hit on the forehead by an enormous rabbit; the only witness is a rather rabbity-looking crossing guard. The search for Jane's bunny-assailant becomes a hallucinatory trip, not down the rabbit- hole like Alice, but around a New York which is as lunatic as Carroll's Wonderland. As the month passes, Jane frequently checks out the hardware store where ex-husband Harold and his new and expectant wife can be found. She visits with her ``longevity friend Susan,'' who not only has an ``intense relationship'' with her dog, Patches, but believes in replacing, like ``eyeglass frames,'' negative frames of mind with positive ones. She tries to improve her parents' sex lives (her mother is making love to the medieval bestiary that emerges from her apartment walls, and her father has something going with the drains). She continues her affair with ``the Fling,'' Nate, the married psychiatrist to whose wife she also gives sex lessons; makes frequent love to the extraordinary nose of Gerald, as well as to men who appear out of the wall; is harassed by a libidinous elevator; and, most ordinarily of all, shops for a new bathing suit and eats lots of ice cream. The rabbit is found, dealt with, and October finally draws to a close as, mercifully, does Jane's Bad Hare Day. Some acute insights, but the relentless raunchiness dressed up in wannabe experimental drag ends up giving both sex and the avant garde a bad name.

Pub Date: April 16th, 1995
ISBN: 1-56478-072-4
Page count: 248pp
Publisher: Dalkey Archive
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1995