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Bunny Bunny by Mona Awad
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“Behold the lavish tent under which the overeducated mingle, well versed in every art but the one of conversation.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“The mothers always look around the campus like extremely interested buyers, their jeweled hands rubbing the backs of their fawnlike spawn as if to say: This could be yours, this could be yours.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“I don’t have those hair salon novels anymore. I like to think they were swallowed up in the Falls after she died. In my memory, those years remain my most prolific writing period although I’ve never really not written, never not had another world of my own making to escape to, never known how to be in this world without most of my soul dreaming up and living in another. Until I came here. Sometimes it’s good to take a break, the Lion said to me last January, whisking his tea. Focus on other things. Read. Be a guest in other worlds. Perhaps you’re growing. Evolving. Trust, Samantha. Patience.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“Our mothers always said to look hard at the things of this world that are owies on the eyes because they will put more colors in your inner rainbow.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“They each look at Ava, then at me, in turn, scanning down from our heads to our feet, their eyes taking us in like little mouths sipping strange drinks. As they do, their noses twitch, their eight eyes do not blink, but stare and stare. Then they look back at the Duchess and lean in to each other, their lip-glossed mouths forming whispery words. Ava squeezes my arm, hard. The Duchess turns and arches an eyebrow at us. She raises a hand up. Is there an invisible gun in it? No. It’s an empty, open hand. With which she then waves. At me. With something like a smile on her face. Hi, her mouth says. My hand shoots up of its own accord before I can even stop myself. I’m waving and waving and waving. Hi, I’m saying with my mouth, even though no sound comes out. Then the rest of the Bunnies hold up a hand and wave too.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“And here’s what I realize: she would never wear mittens shaped like kittens or a dress with a Peter Pan collar. She would never say, Love your dress, if she fucking hated your dress. She would never say, How are you? if she didn’t care how you were. She would never eat a lavender cupcake that tasted like perfume or wear a perfume that made her smell like a cupcake. She would never wear lip balm for cosmetic purposes. She would never wear it unless her lips were seriously, seriously cracked. And even if they were, she’d still put Lady Danger on them, which is the name of her lipstick, this bright blue-red that looks surreally beautiful on her but when I tried it on once made me look insane. Her perfume smells like rain and smoke and her eye makeup scares small children and she wears pumps even though she’s at least two inches taller than I am and I’m a freak.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“Her neighborhood is obscenely beautiful. I cannot help but observe this as I stand on her marbled steps, flanked by stone griffins, beaks open in midscreech. A line of stately houses, a canopy of grandly bowing trees. Just a block from campus, off a poshly quaint street lined with bistros that offer champagne by the glass, cafés that make the cortadas with the ornate foam art that all the faculty drink, shops selling cold-pressed juice and organic dog treats. Unlike my street, which smells of sad man piss, hers smells of autumn leaves.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“You want to fuck, not be fucked,” Victoria says. “Samantha,” Eleanor intones, “is this making sense?” I stare at them all through Kira’s pink heart-shaped glasses. This is how she must see the world all the time. I look at their dark pink faces, so suddenly grave. I should call the police. I should run to Mexico. “Totally.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“I look at her lips shiny and thick with so much gloss. There’s a wavering quality to her voice, like a car swerving down a dangerous road.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“What do you think, Samantha?” Fosco asks me. That it’s a piece of pretentious shit. That it says nothing, gives nothing. That I don’t understand it, that probably no one does and no one ever will. That not being understood is a privilege I can’t afford. That I can’t believe this woman got paid to come here. That I think she should apologize to trees. Spend a whole day on her knees in the forest, looking up at the trembling aspens and oaks and whatever other trees paper is made of with tears in her languid eyes and say, I’m fucking sorry. I’m sorry that I think I’m so goddamned interesting when it is clear that I am not interesting. Here’s what I am: I’m a boring tree murderess. But I look at Vignette, at Creepy Doll, at Cupcake, the Duchess. All of them staring at me now with shy smiles. “I think I’d like to see more of the soup too,” I hear myself say.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“I swallow. My hands ungrip the cliff. Trust. I will not fall, I will float. Up into their high blue sky full of fluffy clouds and rainbows. Up, up, up into the pink mist and the laughing light.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“Now I see his leonine face fall slightly at the sight of students with whom he must fraternize. Ask about their summers. Their writing. Did they get their stipend checks okay? And then there’s the fact that I’m one of the students. Makes it much more difficult. But he smiles. Of course he does. It’s his job.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“Then the zoo to say hello to the Moon Bear in his pit. Then out for Vietnamese iced coffees at the sketchy place we like downtown, where I almost got shot. “You did not almost get shot, Smackie. Jesus Christ. That was a car backing up or something,” she said when I brought it up. “Yes, I did.” “You need to get out more.” “I get out. I’m out with you, aren’t I?” Now we’re back at her place drinking the sangria she made that’s so strong I’m pretty sure it’s poison. It’s that time of evening she calls the hour between the dog and the wolf. A time that actually makes this sorry swath of New England beautiful, the sky ablaze with a sunset the color of flamingos. We’re on her sagging roof, listening to Argentine tango music to drown out the roaring Mexican music next door.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“September. Warren University. The Narrative Arts department’s annual welcome back Demitasse, because this school is too Ivy and New England to call a party a party.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“You also didn’t want to disrupt the purity of cinnamon,” the Duchess observes. “Exactly,” Cupcake says, as though the Duchess has articulated a truth she’s been trying to pin down for years.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“When we first arrived, Ava felt he must be nearby because look, the sky just darkened out of nowhere.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“The Duchess breathes in deeply, then exhales slowly with eyes closed, the way my old therapist did. The one my father sent me to when I was a teenager, after my mother died.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“I miss you, Bunny. This summer was so hard without you. I barely wrote a word, I was so, so sad. Let’s never ever part again, please?” Ava laughs out loud at this. Actually laughs. Throws her feathery head back. Doesn’t bother to cover her mouth with her gloved hand. It’s a delicious, raucous sound. Ringing in the air like the evening’s missing music.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“The light from her stolen lamp buzzing over her feathery head like a flickering motel sign. Sipping champagne from a wide-mouthed flute. Where does she get it? Never mind. Places. Ava never seems to worry about money. Yet somehow her apartment is like a movie of arty poverty in Paris. Run-down but chicly so.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“I try to catch her eye, but it won’t be caught. When at last I see her looking at something close to my direction, I smile. But she looks past me, through me. A guy asks her to dance, and I watch her accept. “Hey,” the man I’m dancing with says. “Ow.” “Sorry.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“I stare up at my cracked ceiling. The water stains that look like jaw-baring beasts seem to have spread since the last time I was here. The yellow light fixture has filled with more moth carcasses, so now there is more moth than light. The towers of books stacked against the walls are all in various stages of collapse, and the walls themselves, thin and piss colored, which are all that separate me from a perverted giant on one side and a sallow-faced girl on the other, appear to have crept even closer together.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“I told you, Cupcake will say, petting her. She’s a freak. Oh, you’re so funny, Bunny. I love you. I love you, Bunny. “Okay,” Ava says, “let’s stop.” “Why?” “You’re obviously not into this tonight.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“The poets brace themselves for imminent, overeducated poverty.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“I walk toward what I think is the school, getting lost again and again until at last the moldering, vacant storefronts switch to juice bars and dog salons and I glimpse the Ivy Bubble. The towers upon which Ava and I have sat like gargoyles. Everyone on the street suddenly goes from looking like an extra in a zombie movie to the star of a French New Wave film.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“And it could definitely use more . . . bounce?” Vignette says, looking at the Duchess, who has said nothing up to this point. “We want more, I guess is what we’re saying, Samantha,” the Duchess says. Hands braided over my pages, looking not at me but at Fosco, who nods with motherly gravitas. “Does that make sense?”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“They laugh. What’s so fucking funny? I want to say. But I don’t. I laugh with them. Ha. Haha. Hahaha.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“she’ll draw her Christopher Robin cardigan closer, clutch her books tightly to her chest as though, tut, tut! Looks like rain. Oh, hi, Samantha, she’ll say, looking around at anything like it might be a buoy that will save her from the fact of me standing right in front of her.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“How much they think they know about what transpired between the Lion and me last year is anyone’s guess. Probably they think I fucked him. Maybe it’s even the reason they kept their distance from me. Or maybe he and I got close because they kept me at a distance, I don’t know.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“All last fall in Workshop, they’d side-eye each other if he praised my stories. Because surely they’d seen me leave class with him, walked past us chatting together in the hall, observed us exchanging books and vinyl. Caught us sitting together in cafés or in the basement of the Irish pub, having a drink, another drink, one more for the road, why not? They’d noticed him walk over and talk to me at department functions, sit beside me at readings. Then, in the winter semester, they might have observed how quite suddenly all of this stopped—that he no longer sat next to me at readings or talked to me at parties or met me off campus. And then, of course, in spring, on the night of the end-of-year party, they definitely observed me drunk in the passenger seat of his Subaru.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel
“But I doubt you did any of those things unless you have a mullet or a deep sense of irony.”
Mona Awad, Bunny: A Novel

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