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White rabbit
Kate Phillips
Adult Fiction PHILLIP

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Phillips's wise and witty first novel recounts a fateful day in the life of Ruth Caster Hubble, 88, who resides with her daft but devoted husband, Henry, in a condo in Laguna Beach, Calif. The title refers to the Caster family tradition of saying ``White Rabbit'' to one another on the first day of every month; on this particular White Rabbit day, Ruth is haunted by blurred visions of a snow-colored bunny that cause her to feel ``as if all her routines were under attack by some insidious force of nature.'' These routines are portrayed in poignant detail, from the arranging of the protagonist's precisely composed breakfast to the steps in her morning beauty regime, to how she instructs Henry to separate the garbage; as the day progresses, however, Ruth's set ways are increasingly interrupted by memories of events and people past. Phillips brings a frank yet empathetic eye to the rich array of characters who appear either in person or through Ruth's reminiscences‘including the woman's beloved first husband, Hale, who died decades ago and whose imperfections are revealed in the novel's climax; her eccentric, free-spirited Aunt Elizabeth; her successful but confused granddaughter, Karen, who drops by for dinner. Most memorable of all is Ruth herself, independent and caustic yet deeply caring, whose self-assured personality, tempered by loneliness, is fully realized. Deftly balancing humor with difficult questions about living and dying (``Would life without illusion be any more bearable, or meaningful, or kind?'' Ruth wonders), Phillips, an author who, at age 28, is still near the beginning of her own adulthood, has managed to write a perceptive and sophisticated novel about a woman at the end of hers. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

It is the first day of the month, a lucky White Rabbit day, and Ruth calls granddaughter Karen in the early morning hours to say so first. After all, at 88 she needs all the luck she can muster. Foiled when Karen's faithless husband answers the phone, Ruth proceeds with her day‘which will hardly be average. Despite attempts to adhere to her compulsive daily routine, Ruth is plagued by myriad pains, hallucinations, and memories of her past, primarily of her dearly loved first husband (as usual, she is aggravated by her current husband). By day's end, and perhaps simultaneously with the end of her life, she is left with two questions: Is it better to accept facts as they are or to reflect on how things might have been? Would life without illusions be any more bearable, or meaningful, or kind? These are worthy considerations for any of us. This first novel is well written but a bit depressing. Recommended for larger fiction collections.‘Kimberly G. Allen, MCI Corporate Information Resources Ctr., Washington, D.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Ruth Caster Hubble
Age: 88

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