Trust Exercise: A Novel
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Henry Holt and Co. 2019
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"Electrifying" (People) * "Masterly" (The Guardian) * "Dramatic and memorable" (The New Yorker) * "Magic" (TIME) * Ingenious" (The Financial Times) * "A gonzo literary performance" (Entertainment Weekly) * "Rare and splendid" (The Boston Globe) * "Remarkable" (USA Today) * "Delicious" (The New York Times) * "Book groups, meet your next selection" (NPR)

In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving "Brotherhood of the Arts," two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed—or untoyed with—by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley.

The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school's walls—until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true—though it's not false, either. It takes until the book's stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place—revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence.

As captivating and tender as it is surprising, Susan Choi's Trust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, and about friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/09/2019
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781250309891
ASIN:
B07CRJB8WJ
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Date Added:
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Date Updated:
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      • bioText: Susan Choi is the author of the novels My Education, American Woman, A Person of Interest, and The Foreign Student. Her work has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award and winner of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award and the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction. With David Remnick, she co-edited Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. She's received NEA and Guggenheim Foundation fellowships. She lives in Brooklyn.
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shortDescription

"Superb, powerful . . . this novel is destined to be a classic."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Never sentimental; always thrillingly alive."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[Choi's] finest novel. . . . exposing tenuous connections between fiction, truth, lies, and, of course, people. Literary deception rarely reads this well."
Booklist (starred review)

NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2019 by Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine, Electric Literature, The Millions, PopSugar, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Publishers Weekly, Lit Hub, Bustle, and The Huffington Post

In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving...

isOwnedByCollections
True
title
Trust Exercise
fullDescription

"Electrifying" (People) * "Masterly" (The Guardian) * "Dramatic and memorable" (The New Yorker) * "Magic" (TIME) * Ingenious" (The Financial Times) * "A gonzo literary performance" (Entertainment Weekly) * "Rare and splendid" (The Boston Globe) * "Remarkable" (USA Today) * "Delicious" (The New York Times) * "Book groups, meet your next selection" (NPR)

In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving "Brotherhood of the Arts," two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed—or untoyed with—by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley.

The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school's walls—until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true—though it's not false, either. It takes until the book's stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place—revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence.

As captivating and tender as it is surprising, Susan Choi's Trust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, and about friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.

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      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 15, 2018

        Pulitzer Prize finalist Choi opens her new novel in the early 1980s South, where two first-year students at a high-powered performing arts high school fall in love and, like their peers, circle around acting teacher Mr. Kingsley like moths to flame. Years later, we meet David and Sarah again and learn that things were not as they had seemed.

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from January 1, 2019
        What begins as the story of obsessive first love between drama students at a competitive performing arts high school in the early 1980s twists into something much darker in Choi's singular new novel.The summer between their freshman and sophomore years at the Citywide Academy for the Performing Arts--an elite institution "intended to cream off the most talented at selected pursuits from the regular places all over the [unnamed Southern] city" where they lived--Sarah and David consummate the romance that had been brewing the whole previous year. It is the natural culmination of the "taut, even dangerous energy running between them," which--while naturally occurring--has been fostered by Mr. Kingsley, the head of Theatre Arts, who has positioned himself as the central figure in his students' lives, holding power not only over their professional futures, but their social ones as well: part parent, part guru, part master manipulator. But when Sarah and David return in the fall, their relationship instantly crumbles, and in the wake of their very public dissolution, Sarah finds herself increasingly isolated, dismissed into the shadows of CAPA life. Until, that spring, a British theater troupe comes to campus as part of a cultural exchange, and Sarah, along with her classmate Karen, begin parallel relationships with the English imports: Karen is in love with the director, and Sarah is uncomfortably linked to his protégé, the production's star. It is, until now, a straightforward story, capturing--with nauseating, addictive accuracy--the particular power dynamics of elite theater training. And then, in the second part of the novel, Pulitzer finalist Choi (My Education, 2013, etc.) upends everything we thought we knew, calling the truth of the original narrative into question. (A short coda, set in 2013, recasts it again.) This could easily be insufferable; in Choi's hands, it works: an effective interrogation of memory, the impossible gulf between accuracy and the stories we tell. And yet, as rigorous and as clever and as relevant as it is, the second half of the novel never quite reaches the soaring heights of the first. It's hardly a deal breaker: the writing (exquisite) and the observations (cuttingly accurate) make Choi's latest both wrenching and one-of-a-kind.Never sentimental; always thrillingly alive.

        COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

subtitle
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popularity
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publisher
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