A sharply observed, mordantly funny, and startlingly original novel from an exciting, unconventional new voice the author of the acclaimed The Wallcreeper about the making and unmaking of the American family that lays bare all of our assumptions about race and racism, sexuality and desire.
Stillwater College in Virginia, 1966. Freshman Peggy, an ingenue with literary pretensions, falls under the spell of Lee, a blue-blooded poet and professor, and they begin an ill-advised affair that results in an unplanned pregnancy and marriage. The two are mismatched from the start she s a lesbian, he s gay but it takes a decade of emotional erosion before Peggy runs off with their three-year-old daughter, leaving their nine-year-old son behind.
Worried that Lee will have her committed for her erratic behavior, Peggy goes underground, adopting an African American persona for her and her daughter. They squat in a house in an African-American settlement, eventually moving to a housing project where no one questions their true racial identities. As Peggy and Lee s children grow up, they must contend with diverse emotional issues: Byrdie deals with his father s compulsive honesty; while Karen struggles with her mother s lies she knows neither her real age, nor that she is white, nor that she has any other family.
Years later, a minority scholarship lands Karen at the University of Virginia, where Byrdie is in his senior year. Eventually the long lost siblings will meet, setting off a series of misunderstandings and culminating in a comedic finale worthy of Shakespeare.”
- Kirkus ReviewsÂ 03/01/2015 (EANÂ 9780062364777, Hardcover)
- Library JournalÂ 04/01/2015 pg. 86 (EANÂ 9780062364777, Hardcover)
- New York Times Book ReviewÂ 06/07/2015 pg. 12 (EANÂ 9780062364777, Hardcover)
- New York Times Book ReviewÂ 06/14/2015 pg. 22 (EANÂ 9780062364777, Hardcover)
- Shelf AwarenessÂ 06/09/2015 (EANÂ 9780062364777, Hardcover)
- NY Times Notable Bks of YearÂ 12/06/2015 pg. 26 (EANÂ 9780062364777, Hardcover)
- Entertainment WeeklyÂ 03/04/2016 pg. 63 (EANÂ 9780062364784, Paperback)
- New York Times Book ReviewÂ 03/06/2016 pg. 28 (EANÂ 9780062364784, Paperback)
- Library JournalÂ 08/01/2015 pg. 48 (EANÂ 9781622317530, Compact Disc)
- Audio FileÂ 02/01/2016 pg. 37 (EANÂ 9781622317530, Compact Disc) – *Starred Review
- Publishers WeeklyÂ 03/30/2015 (EANÂ 9780062364791, Other) – *Starred Review
- Library JournalÂ 04/01/2015 (EANÂ 9780062364791, Other)
Nell ZinkÂ grew up in rural Virginia. She has worked in a variety of trades, including masonry and technical writing. In the early 1990s, she edited an indie rock fanzine. Her books includeÂ The Wallcreeper,Â Mislaid,Â Private Novelist, andÂ Nicotine, and her writing has appeared inÂ n+1,Â Granta,Â andÂ Harper’s. She lives near Berlin, Germany.