From the author of Thin Girls, a page-turning feminist novel that tells the story of how a poor girl coming of age in rural New Zealand grows to be a sex icon, the face of a movement, and a mother, all at the same time.
by Diana Clarke
Harper, June 2022
(via Writers House)
Kate Burns grows up wanting attention from her Ma, but her Ma wants only money and Kate learns how to get both. She and her childhood friend, Lacey, run kissing lessons for cash in the janitor’s closet of Fenbrook High, and, just like that, they find themselves in the sex work industry. When Ma dies, Kate discovers that the men her Ma was always inviting over to their home were, in fact, clients. Ma was no stranger to sex work either.
Following in Ma’s footsteps, Kate heads to Nevada where she picks up a job at America’s largest and most successful brothel: The Hop. In her new life as a Bunny, Kate searches for an identity she can perform—the other Bunnies include a goth, a housewife, a hippy, a rebel, all of them acting their archetype flawlessly. She befriends Betty, a trans woman who is a Bunny for kicks rather than cash; Mia, who is marketed as The Asian Persuasion; Dakota and Rain, who are ex-dominatrixes and newly in love. Kate becomes Lady Lane. Lady quickly becomes a bestselling Bunny and the owner Daddy’s favorite at this high-class establishment. But when ten street workers are killed in a nearby city, just bodies with no names, Lady joins her sister Bunnies in mourning and begins to see things in a new light.
Lady’s success breeds scandal and unwanted fame, deeply affecting her, transforming her life and The Hop forever. Diana Clarke’s provocative second novel is subversive in the very best way, an unforgettable work of fiction with a feminist message that couldn’t be more important.
Purdue MFA (with Roxane Gay as her thesis adviser) and University of Utah PhD candidate, Diana Clarke is a New Zealander who now lives in Salt Lake City. Her work has been published in Glimmer Train, The Rumpus, Black Warrior Review, The Master’s Review, and Hobart, among other places. THE HOP is her second novel.