THE WHITE HARE

Michael Fish­wick, Head of Zeus (APRIL) Hard­cover $15.99 (248pp), 978-1-78669-051-7

Foreword Reviews - - Foresight / Fantasy -

In Michael Fish­wick’s The White Hare, lo­cal leg­end has it that a woman who dies aban­doned by her lover can re­turn in rab­bit form to seek re­venge. Who this woman might be and who she’s come for is a sub­ject of vil­lage de­bate. Young Rob­bie, newly ar­rived, is learn­ing the lore for the first time. How­ever, his only friend, Mag­gie Carr, knows who the white hare is. And she’s been wait­ing for her.

Af­ter the fire, Rob­bie re­mem­bers “lov­ing the flames, their wild­ness and their strength.” Af­ter all, fire was his anger. But now, ev­ery­thing has changed. He’s moved from Lon­don to the coun­try­side. He has a record. His mom is dead. His dad is go­ing na­tive, and his step­mother and step­sis­ters seem to have one foot out the door. When the white hare shows up, Mags drags him through for­est and field and into leg­end, show­ing Rob­bie that change has just be­gun.

At the heart of the story are Mags, “al­most in­vis­i­ble … the clothes she was wear­ing so weath­ered and faded that she melted into the land­scape and be­came a part of it”; the white hare, “her body hunched like a ques­tion mark”; and Rob­bie him­self, blaz­ing, run­ning, and anx­ious. Re­vealed slowly in lov­ingly ren­dered scenes, this tri­umvi­rate nav­i­gate a land­scape both in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal and find them­selves in the wildest, old­est, and most dan­ger­ous ter­rains of hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence.

Fish­wick wields strange­ness rather than cer­tainty, and speci­ficity rather than an­swers, in this rare of­fer­ing filled with mys­tery and emo­tional depth. A trea­tise on the bru­tal­ity of love and the pain it fre­quently leaves be­hind, The White Hare looks to the wild places and feral peo­ple that grief cre­ates. The beauty of its prose lingers, a grace note amidst the heart­break­ing re­al­iza­tion that, of­ten, “it’s hard to know how guilty you are.”

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