A tale about the ravages of old age, the weight of the past and bunny rabbits.
Debut novelist Hendricks tries to apply the whimsical mood of fairy tales to the mildly experimental fiction at play here, and he largely succeeds despite the grim nature of his story. Our protagonist is an elderly man named only as Mr. Fin, who spends his time daydreaming on park benches and tinkering with an old boat; he's clearly suffering from dementia. His only company is a kindly neighbor named Viv, who comes often to check on him. What readers learn is that Fin has a rich inner life, populated by a fanciful cast of animals that includes a bold rabbit adventurer, Hart Crane, and a melancholy writer, Virginia the Wolf, among many other beasts of claw and fang. Fin’s tales (and indeed, the novel itself) also pull liberally from Homer, Cervantes, Hemingway and Virginia Woolf, sometimes (admittedly) borrowing its inspirations sans quotation or citation. Fortunately, all the characters have their own arcs and their own unique journeys—Hart Crane works feverishly to save a family of bunnies who are reeling from a zeppelin attack, while our wolf toils at her last novel in an attempt to lure her daughter home. Things take a dark turn when Fin discovers that, after 20 years, the body of his son David has washed up on the beach. David is strongly implied to have committed suicide, and whether Fin is really attempting to nurse his son back to life or simply worrying after a bit of debris is left hazy. However, as Fin struggles to understand the cipher of his long-lost son, his atmospheric daydreams become more frenzied and insistent than before. It’s a curious experiment but one that carries more emotional weight than most books starring anthropomorphic animals.
A vivid story that uses the language and metaphors of myth to reflect on the unkind nature of age and perception.