A psychotic breakdown is not often the stuff of comedy but, in her first novel in ten years, Binnie Kirshenbaum makes it so without belittling the subject.
Bunny, a successful novelist, hasn't washed for days or left her NYC apartment for weeks, but is determined nonetheless to go out for dinner with her husband and friends on New Year's Eve, despite despising precisely this sort of event...
Yet for all the delicious pleasure to be found in Bunny, scathing voice, it's hard to fully warm to this novel, perhaps because its emotionally hollowed-out protagonist is so stubbornly set on self-obliteration there's simply not enough of her left over for the reader.
It’s a fine line to walk. There are some hackneyed observations (yes, people can be unsympathetic to mental illness) and sometimes the jokes are like quips from a sitcom where the laughs come less from the situation than from characters exchanging wisecracks. But the undertow of sadness keeps it anchored, with fine dramatic timing in a touching scene of an uncomfortable, emotional visit from her parents, which ends with the footnote: “The truth is that this never happened. Her parents have never come to visit.”