Brilliant insight and gleaming prose light up this report from the darkest interior, where Binnie Kirshenbaum’s acerbic, grieving, all-too clear-sighted protagonist has become imprisoned by despair. Enduring love is no match here for irremediable loss, but Kirshenbaum conducts us on the journey with steady authorial nerves, high-wire insouciance, quicksilver wit, and limitless compassion.
— Deborah Eisenberg
 
Website Rabbits Eisenberg.jpg

Forthcoming May 7, 2019

It’s New Year’s Eve, the holiday of forced fellowship, mandatory fun, and paper hats.While dining out with her husband and their friends, Kirshenbaum’s protagonist—an acerbic, mordantly witty, and clinically depressed writer—fully unravels. Her breakdown lands her in the psych ward of a prestigious New York hospital, where she refuses all modes of recommended treatment. Instead, she passes the time chronicling the lives of her fellow “lunatics” and writing a novel about what brought her there. Her story is a brilliant and brutally funny dive into the disordered mind of a woman who sees the world all too clearly.

Propelled by razor-sharp comic timing and rife with pinpoint insights, Kirshenbaum examines what it means to be unloved and loved, to succeed and fail, to be at once impervious and raw. Rabbits for Food shows how art can lead us out of—or into—the depths of disconsolate loneliness and piercing grief. A bravura literary performance from one of our most and indispensable writers.

Powell's Books | IndieBound | Amazon

Back to books

Praise for Rabbits for Food

“Binnie Kirshenbaum has hit her considerable stride in Rabbits for Food. This novel is compulsive reading; it’s wonderfully paced, explosively funny and witty, and very, very wise about many grave things—but mostly about merely being human.”
—Richard Ford

“Psychiatric dayroom dark and just as funny, Rabbits for Food breaks down the mental breakdown into disquieting bite-sized pieces. It’s fast-paced and turbulent, but beautifully complex, and the details are stunning. So chew slowly—this is one you’ll want to savor.”
Paul Beatty

“A joy-giving and hilarious letter from the realm of despair. Also, somehow, a gentle love story. Marvelous and beautiful.”
Rivka Galchen


“Haunted, astringent, and grimly funny, Rabbits for Food explores without a grain of sentimentality or exaggeration the sort of crisis that any of us might fall prey to. In her ‘unlikeable’ protagonist, Binnie Kirshenbaum has created a hero for our time: articulate but misunderstood, loved but lonely, unsuccessful but not a failure, sophisticated to the point of jadedness, and on the verge of a devastating breakdown.
Christopher Sorrentino




 

“The female narrator I’ve been waiting for. Wickedly funny as well as seriously depressed. Binnie Kirshenbaum, the great novelist of female neurosis, has given us, in Rabbits for Food, the only story that really matters—a troubled soul deciding if life is worth living or not.”
Darcey Steinke


“Kirshenbaum might have written this with a blade, her wit is that sharp and deep. Cutting to the bone, Kirshenbaum allows no sentimentality in this bracing novel. Rabbits for Food is stark in its descriptions, beautifully written, weirdly funny, and engrossing. I was riveted.”
Lynne Tillman


“Binnie Kirshenbaum is an unflinching teller of truths. She’s also sublimely funny. Rabbits for Food shows this immensely gifted writer at the height of her powers.”
Jenny Offill

Kirshenbaum’s first novel in 10 years —a tour de force about 43-year-old novelist’s descent into an abysmal clinical depression—is a remarkable achievement that expertly blends pathos and humor…. The death of her best friend tipped her [into A] downward spiral, which bottoms out at a suffocating New Year’s Eve dinner that goes very bad. Soon, she’s checked in to a psych ward and under the care of doctors whose ideas about treatment diverge sharply from her own. There are hints of pending doom in flashbacks of Bunny’s childhood: her family. Amid the backstory and Bunny’s razor-sharp scrutiny of living in a mental hospital, Kirshenbaum sprinkles in Bunny’s brilliantly written and revelatory responses to the writing prompts given in the psych ward’s creative writing class. Elsewhere, Bunny’s cutting riffs on life in New York City, the psychiatrists she has seen throughout her life, and the effects of numerous medications, are eye-opening. Comparisons to One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest are obvious and warranted, but Kirshenbaum’s dazzling novel stands on its own as a crushing work of immense heart. (May)
Starred Review—Publisher’s Weekly