Alisha Piercy, 160 pages, BookThug, bookthug.ca. $20
You wouldn’t think that something that reads like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel would be daring, but somehow Alisha Piercy has made just such a thing. It’s hard to summarize the plot of Bunny & Shark without giving too much away, but here’s my attempt. Bunny is an aging former Playboy playmate, and she’s been thrown into the ocean and left for dead by her lover, Bastard. What follows is her struggle to survive and decide her destiny.
Bunny’s story glides off the page so easily that the reader forgets the second-person narrative mode. Piercy’s writing flows from descriptive to poetic, consistently bringing magical elements to simple scenes, thereby subversively seducing the reader: “Keep swimming. Feel as if by sonar: the circumference of the island, its salient boundaries, which are separate from those you know so well, from the hot slick highways and main roads you’ve driven.”
Piercy doesn’t stray from Bunny’s journey for survival, but she doesn’t restrict the reader from thinking beyond Bunny’s world. There are many forks in the road for the heroine, and she often contemplates what the results would be. Suspense is kept through Bunny’s choices, for the consequences are never sure, even up to the very end.
Bunny and Shark is an effective and — dare I say — engrossing read. I read the book in a couple days through a few transit rides. I missed my stop a few times too. By positioning Bunny in our subconscious, Piercy has taken an old writing technique and made it feel new and experimental again. (Jacqueline Valencia)