Book Review: The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty

September 29, 2022


The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty is a novel about residents of low-income housing in a fictional Indiana town. This is Ms. Gunty’s debut novel.

  • 352 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Knopf
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : 0593534662

Book Review: The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty
My rating for The Rabbit Hutch 4

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The novel is off to a slow start, but I found it full of symbolism. Starting, of course, at apartment C4, where people are cramped like rabbits, to the teen who named herself Blandine, after a Christian Saint protected by wild beasts.

While Blandine tries to find order, The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty culminates in a scene of bloody chaos (and a wild beast to boot). Reading a bit about Saint Blandine (Blandina), helped me understand the correlation between our literary protagonist and the parallels the author drew.

The fictional town of Vacca Vale, Indiana comes to life better than expected. It is a run-down town, way past its glory days when the Zorn automobile company thrived. Today, like many towns of America’s heartlands, the town had degraded with its people into absurdity, along with members of the Zorn family, living on past glories.

The apartment complex is full of characters that would seem familiar to anyone who lived in one. Bickering couples, the lonely ones who resent the opposite sex, young mothers, babies and children – all living too close for comfort.

Symbolism aside, which you don’t have to understand to enjoy the story, the narrative is full of ideas. Each one of those ideas would make an excellent story, but all together they feel unbalanced. The story digresses from the main narrative, and then nudges the reader back in, only to digress again. Done a few times, and the way Ms. Gunty wrote it, that’s a winning formula. However, I felt that in this instance, this mechanism was done too much. Nevertheless, this is a well-written novel, thoughtful, and quite smart as well.


The story takes place in the low-income apartment building known as The Rabbit Hutch to its residents and La Lapinière Affordable Housing Complex in Vacca Vale, Indiana. It is on a hot night, in Apartment C4, when 18-year-old Blandine Watkins exits her body, almost in the same way her name sake, Saint Blandine, did 2,000 years ago.

Blandine had a difficult life, and she lives with three other post-foster teenagers in The Rabbit Hutch. We work our way through the 48 hours of the revelation of how Blandine exits her body, and the people around her living in a dying town.

Buy The Rabbit Hutch from*
More Books by Tess Gunty*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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